How to eliminate deadly gangs

Newsday’s editorial on April 27 focused on the upcoming visit of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and gang violence on Long Island [“Actions, not words, must stop killings”].

The piece suggested that his visit could contain nothing more than empty promises, as others have made for years. Let’s not forget that this isn’t a new problem and that all levels of government, especially town, county and state, have not successfully addressed the issue.

Good for Sessions in making the visit and hopefully bringing some new methodology, even while county and state officials fall over each other to do something. It’s a shame that Newsday chose to write, “Sessions, who has often spoken harshly about immigrants,” while omitting that the immigrants are here illegally.

This is a country of laws as well as a proud country of immigrants.

Larry Weiss, Islip

 

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To better protect Brentwood’s mostly well-behaved, deserving students, school authorities should identify and send needy, gang-involved teenagers out of district to regional alternative high school programs.

After a 30-year career teaching in a regional alternative high school run by BOCES, I took a job teaching in an innovative alternative high school program run by the Suffolk County Probation Juvenile Day Reporting Center and Cornell University Cooperative Extension.

According to information from probation officials, two of my students were from Brentwood and were believed to be criminally involved with MS-13.

While in our program, their opportunities to interact with their gang-involved friends were severely curtailed. The students were restricted to their homes every night and on weekends. Unfortunately, after completing probation, both young men returned to the school district and the community. Before too long, they returned to gang activity.

Years ago when I was giving a presentation, I encountered a Brentwood educator who told me that her district preferred to manage at-risk young people by keeping them “in-house.”

For Brentwood, and now perhaps for all of Long Island, this is a catastrophe. What else can you call it when good students are afraid to go to their own high school?

Terry Thomas, Farmingville