Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 41–68 | Cite as

Gang behavior in the schools: Reality or myth?

  • Carolyn P. Parks


The purpose of this review is to explore the nature of gang behavior in U.S. schools, with a particular focus on the extent to which such behavior affects or exacerbates the larger issue of school violence. An unanticipated finding was the absence of strong empirical support for school gang violence. The evidence does show youth gangs have changed dramatically over the last several decades and have become more violent, largely due to drugs and weapons-carrying. One major impact of this violence on schools has been the dissolving of the school as the “neutral zone,” where gang activity ceased. Thus, it appears that the similar “turf” issues of the street gangs have infiltrated the schools. The review explores problems related to school gang violence definitions and literature, trends in school-related gang activity, reasons for gang membership, at-risk youth, and proposed strategies for ameliorating the problem.

Key Words

gangs youth gangs violence school violence youth violence 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn P. Parks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior and Health EducationThe University of North Carolina School of Public HealthChapel Hill

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