Superintendent's Memo #044-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

February 11, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Statewide survey on gangs/gang members

The Department of Criminal Justice Service is conducting an online survey to gather information on gang activity. The Virginia Department of Education encourages school divisions to complete this survey by February 25, 2011. The link to the survey is http://www.dcjs.virginia.gov/research/surveys2011/gangsurvey/.

A major obstacle to reducing gang activity in Virginia is a lack of specific information about gangs. At a recent gang prevention workshop, legislators, public safety officials and others concluded that Virginia's ability to combat gangs would be improved with better statewide information about gangs.

School divisions are among the institutions threatened by gang activity. Gang members can threaten or harm students and faculty, damage school property, recruit students into the gangs, and generally disrupt learning and other educational activities. This gang activity survey will also provide information to help improve safety in Virginia's schools.

Questions may be directed to Sherri Johnson, The Department of Criminal Justice Services Research Center, at 804-786-7427 or e-mail sherri.johnson@dcjs.virginia.gov.

PIW/jb