Parent Gang Fears

By: Mary Pulley Email
By: Mary Pulley Email

After several juveniles were arrested for gang activity at Thomas Harrison Middle School in Harrisonburg, area parents are hoping the schools will do more to crack down on gang violence.

One parent, Kathy Kines, recently moved to Harrisonburg and she's had a lot to think about with her daughter. She says gang violence should be the least of her concerns.

She says, "I was like, oh gosh, my daughter's going to this school and now there's already gang trouble."

She was already concerned about sending her daughter to public school.
The recent gang violence incidents had her questioning whether she made the right decision.

Kines says, "We were apprehensive about going to a city school. I thought it would be Okay and then I hear this. Then I'm like, geeze, do I need to move again?"

School Superintendent Dr. Don Ford wants to ease the concerns of Kines and other parents. He says students should not feel unsafe at Thomas Harrison because situations like this don't usually happen at the school.

"Our schools are safe places to be, and when we have children who misbehave in any significant way, then it's pretty typical that those children will be removed from the school setting," says Ford.

Kines and Ford both say the school's priority should be the students and the school is taking steps to keep the violence from spreading.

However, Ford says it's not just the school's responsibility to keep incidents like these gang ones from happening.

Kines says, "I hope they crack down a little harder on stuff like that. You know, they said something about the bullying and I hope they crack down on it."

Ford responds that the community and parents also play a role in keeping kids away from gangs. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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