October 17, 2005

Students, community leaders to
hold statewide discussion on gangs

High school students across the state will share their thoughts on gangs and California culture-in person and online- as part of a two-week statewide LegiSchool forum. A town hall meeting between students, lawmakers, educators, law enforcement and gang prevention advocates will be followed by a Web-based forum that will provide participants and others a chance to expand the discussion, focusing on challenges and solutions.

The LegiSchool Project is a non-partisan civic education effort of Sacramento State's Center for California Studies and the state Legislature.

From 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 20, 300 high school students from around the state will come together at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles for the town hall. The meeting will examine the complicated social and cultural issues that lead young people into gangs. It will also address the effects that gangs have on the quality of life in schools and communities.

Following the meeting, LegiSchool will host a two-week online dialogue on the challenge of dealing with gangs. From Oct. 24 to Nov. 3 policymakers familiar with the topic will serve as panelists, sharing perspectives and helping frame the discussion. Website visitors will be able to post questions, and read and respond to the comments of others. The first week of the online forum will focus on analysis-looking at gangs from the perspectives of schools and gangs, law enforcement and the juvenile justice system, and community reaction to gangs. The second week will look at action-discussing recommendations for the three areas.

Students and others can take part in the discussion and receive the discussion summaries by e-mail by registering at www.webdialogues.net. Students can participate as individuals, in small groups or as a class.

Panelists for the Oct. 20 town hall meeting are expected to include Senator Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles); Assemblymember Todd Spitzer (R-Orange); Robert Arias, Mario Corona and William "Blinky" Rodriguez from Communities in Schools; Gus Frias of the Gang Risk Intervention Program in the Los Angeles County Office of Education; and Reverend Carol Scott of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Inglewood.

Audience participants will include students from the nonprofit organization Communities in Schools, Los Angeles High School, Luther Burbank High in Sacramento, Monroe Law and Government Magnet High in North Hills, Mt. Jacinto Continuation High in Cathedral City, Tehachapi High, and Verdugo Hills High in Tujunga. Sacramento State education professor Paula Gardner will moderate the meeting.

For more information call (916) 278-6906. Media assistance is available by contacting the Sacramento State public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
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