In a world where gangs are on the increase, thoughts have turned to the parents of group members, and in at least one area, a unique system has been put into place in the interest of these children.
Los Angeles is thought to be the first participant, with the whole of California on it’s way to becoming involved.
Tony Mendoza is an Assemblyman who is structural to the Parent Accountability Act, a new state law which is aimed at ordering parents of gang members to attend classes, by way of a judge’s decision.
These classes start by informing parents of the signs to watch for if they suspect that their child might be heading towards a life of gang involvement. They then go on to provide information on drugs, and this includes photographs showing addicts before and after.
Sentencing is discussed, with parents being advised on just how severely their children could be legally punished.
The classes also have visiting family members of the victims of gang crimes, which really drives the message home of just how much suffering is caused by the greedy and violent behaviour displayed by many gang members, often with fatal outcomes.
Parents are encouraged to communicate with their children, and to become more aware and more involved with what they are doing.
Gang members are often from poor communities where both parents have to go to work, often leading to their children being left to their own devices for long periods of time, leaving the parents out of touch with what their children are up to, and completely unaware of gang involvement that they may have. There are obviously also parents who lack interest and whose parenting skills leave a lot to be desired.
Classes are currently free to encourage people to attend, although it is expected that charges will come into force at some point.
Mendoza was motivated to implement the new state law by his own experience in starting to become involved with gangs. His own mother discovered what was happening and took an active role in bringing an end to it. His cousin however, was not so lucky. His mother didn’t manage to dissuade her son from living the gang life, which sadly resulted in the loss of his life.
Let’s hope that these classes spread, not only to the rest of America, but to all countries affected by gang crime.