Signs

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherintexas, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I recently learned that tennis shoes thrown over the wires are a sign of gang activity and if shoes are on the roof of a home, it means drugs can be purchased there.

    I pass by seven or eight sets of shoes, and see four places with shoes on a roof in the neighborhood on the way to my school. I've been looking since someone told me about this in the town where I live and in other neighborhoods in the town where I teach and I've not seen these signs (which is good I guess).

    I knew the area was very poor, has drive by shootings, and many of my kids' parents are heavily involved in gangs, but it just surprised me to see such an obvious sign of trouble.

    What other signs have I missed?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    And sometimes shoes on a wire are simply that...

    What gang activity have you seen in your school?
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Many times my middle school students will be caught drawing gang signs and sometimes you will see a student with either a shaved eyebrow or a shaved spot in their eyebrow. This can mean that they recently joined a gang.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

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    Didn't know either one of those.

    but... I do know that shoes on a wire are not always a sign of gang activity. sometimes they are just pranks.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yeah, a friend threw his little brother's shoes over a wire once just being a meanie head. But it seems you are in a very different environment. Sad and scary. :(
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've not seen anything from students, but many of the jailed parents are in gangs, according to the newspaper articles on their trials. Many parents have gang tattoos.

    I'm not sure of the exact number but I would guess more than half of my kids have at least one parent who have been in prison. The number would probably go to close to seventy-five percent of kids who have someone in prison from their extended family.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    From Snopes...which leaves me saying you really just have to know your community.

    Claim: Old running shoes hanging from trees and power lines are 'gang signs.'

    Verdict: LEGEND

    Origins: All across the United States, you'll encounter discarded shoes hanging from wires, poles, and trees. Theories as to what these shoes signify abound, but, contrary to what one hears, there's no one right answer.

    Who put the shoes there and why? The list of explanations goes on. Suggestions include:

    • It's the work of gangs marking the boundaries of their territory.
    • Bullies take them off defenceless kids, then sling them up out of reach as the ultimate taunt.
    • Gang members create an informal memorial at the spot where a friend lost his life.
    • Crack dealers festoon wires to advertise their presence in the neighborhood.
    • The shoes increase wire visibility for low-flying aircraft.
    • Overly puffed-up boys who have just lost their virginity or otherwise passed a sexual milestone look to signal the event to others.
    • Graduating seniors mark this transition in their lives by leaving something of themselves behind; namely, their shoes.
    • Kids do it just because it's fun. And besides, what else are you going to do with a worn-out pair of sneakers other than tie the laces together and toss them high?

    In the Southwest exists a similar practice, that of placing old, worn boots upside down on fence posts by the side of a road. Driving along, one passes upturned boot after upturned boot. Some people tell us these boots are a way for a homeowner to indicate if he's gone to town for the day; on his way out, he stops where his driveway meets the road and adjusts the boot so its toe points outwards. When the toe is pointing towards the house, he's telling the world he's home. Others say it's just a boot-on-a-fencepost thing with no more rhyme or reason to it than there is to those sneakers hanging over telephone wires.

    Members of the military have pointed to the practice of pitching an old pair of army boots over the wires when leaving a post as a possible origin for sneaker slinging. According to some, army boot pitching is a ritual performed upon completing basic training, according to others, the boots are tossed when a soldier leaves one post for another, and a final school of thought holds that boot pitching is properly done only when the service itself is being left. The boots are often painted yellow or orange prior to being festooned over a wire.

    There's no one definitive answer as to why those shoes hang from telephone wires. Perhaps the answer lies within each of us, shoe-slinger and non-shoe-slinger alike. We are a determinedly decorative society. At Christmas and Halloween, on Easter and the 4th of July, many of us feel compelled to doll up houses, windows, and lawns with all manner of objects and lights. Some call this folk art. Others will tell you it has to do with the human need for self-expression.

    Slinging shoes over a power line could be no more than us letting that side of ourselves run riot. Then again, the whole thing could be merely an invented tradition, with people doing it because they see others doing it.
     
  9. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    The placement of these shoes would have me believe that they do mean this in these cases. I did a google search after someone told me this was a sign, and sometimes it is. I know it can just be a prank, but I don't think it is where I teach.

    There were shoes thrown over wires here and there where I grew up and I am absolutely certain my seventy year old neighbor wasn't dealing.

    But I don't teach in a neighborhood I would live in. Not even for a night.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    That is good to know. I had a kid with a stripe in his back before Christmas.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

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    We had some officers from the gang unit come talk to us years ago. It was really sad. They had pics of little kids throwing up the gang signs and wearing the colors. I wish I could remember more of what they said to keep an eye out for.

    Don't feel badly that you didn't know the signs-they said they even do informational sessions for parents what to look for, because they don't even know sometimes that their own kids joined a gang. It's a scary world out there, for sure!
     
  12. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I don't think I could ever teach or live in an area with those types of issues. No desire for that.
     
  13. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I taught in a school that had a lot of MS-13 in the neighborhood, but we didn't get worried at the shoes slung over the wire near our school. It was on a the path to the middle school, and it was usually middle school kids pulling pranks or being mean to each other.

    We got more worried if we saw gang tags or youths in the neighborhood all decked out in gang colors.
     
  14. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    In the old days.....

    In my neighborhood, you threw a pair of sneakers up on the lines if they were a great pair of sneakers before they wore down. A way to let people know they were great. It was sort of a "Hall of Fame" for retired, favorite sneakers.

    It was just a kid thing then, who knows now?
     
  15. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    These are very new shoes and every one are Nikes. I'm not sure if the brand means something.
     
  16. YoungTeacherGuy

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    :yeahthat:

    I wasn't aware of this until this school year when I started teaching middle school! :(
     
  17. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    I have heard the same thing as well, that shoes over a wire mark gang territory. I always thought it would be fun to cut down the shoes and put up bright pink high heels instead!!

    I have to say that when I have seen them, they appear to be in neighbourhoods where it would have been a prank rather than gang activity.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I know the "house that sells drugs" thing was true in my college town. I had not heard of the eyebrow thing- I am going to be staring at eyebrows at school now! I have a lot of noon duties with the middle school kids.
     
  19. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Some of us don't have the choice. When I started out my career in the district I am in, gang activity was fairly non-existent. Now, it is common place. The likelihood of finding another job in a different district in nil, with the numbers of years I have.
    I have come to recognize the signs-shoes on the roof, shoes tossed over wires, one pant leg up and one down, colors of their gang, one student making sure the teacher will repeat things 3 times, etc. We are required to report such activity to our admin.
     
  20. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Yeah, I heard about the sneakers over the wire things year ago. It my be a legend or harmless, but I don't necessarily think so in EVERY neighborhood you see it.

    Since we're on the subject of sneakers, I live in a good area, but I remember when I was in 8th grade in 1988-89, there was a brand of sneakers called BKs. Back then, the kids were saying it stood for Blood Killers (as in the crips & the bloods rival gangs). After that one year, I never heard of or saw those sneakers ever again.
     
  21. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Here in the Central Valley in California, it would be impossible to find a school with no gang issues. Maybe the private, religious schools don't have gang issues, but I bet the gangs have influence even there. It's sad, but these kids need teachers too. For the most part, they keep the gang activity out of the classroom. If they are caught doing gang stuff on campus, they are expelled. I know who the gang kids are, and some of them learn and get decent grades, and some of them fail every class. They're just like any other student in that respect.
     
  22. Linguist92021

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    Shoes on the wires probably do mean gangs are in the area.
    further signs that kids may be in gangs: (either are, or want to be):
    - wearing a lot of red
    - wearing a lot of blue
    - forming letters with their hands, such as C for 'crip', or spelling out 'Blood', or any other kind of words. kids usually are not in favor of spelling words out with their hands, so if you see this probably a sing on gangs. sometimes it's very subtle and hard to see.
    - emphasizing certain numbers, a lot of times these relate to penal codes
    - crossing out the letter c and substituting in with b in words, and vice versa.
    - crossing someones name out with an X (sometimes writing 187 next to it, which a penal code for homicide, but the X itself is supposed to imply that the person will be killed.) If you see this in school it won't really mean that they will be killed, it's jst a way to express hatred, bullying, etc, but the way they express it shows their gang affiliation (or that they want to be members)
    - some tattooes

    there's much more, these are from the top of my head
     
  23. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    The Crip members like to wear the British Knights brand, because BK can stand for Blood Killers, it's still true today. There are a lot of other athletic wear other gangs favor due to their logos.
     
  24. Linguist92021

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    I actually had some websites saved because I wanted to learn more about this (most of my students are in gangs.) so here is more:
    - tilting baseball caps to left or right, often pulling up one leg of pants to the knee, left or right (signifiies which gang)
    - Latino gangs love the number 13, because M is the 13th letter of the ABC, M- Mexican maffia, the letter M has a huge significance. They love my name (Marianna), and some of them often repeat it a lot, not because they love me or it, but that it starts with an M. M can also stand for marijuana or meth.
    - they have a lot of abreviations, symbols (letters, numbers, or actual symbols) for everything.
    - letters: they have a whole system that they learn and can speak in code. for example 3 will stand for crips (A,B,C), 2 will stand for bloods(A,B) and will use those accordingly with other numbers. 7 - G for gangsters.
    - also if you see the $$ signs in their writing, it will probably have something to do with gangs (hustling, money, power).
    - gang style writing - you can't miss it, very hard to read.
     
  25. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Originally Posted by: callmebob....
    I don't think I could ever teach or live in an area with those types of issues. No desire for that.


    :yeahthat:

    Spending almost 20 years in bottom-of-the-barrel districts, loaded with thugs, was NOT my career objective!
     
  26. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    and how could I forget tagging!!! One of the biggest issues at my school. Writing with pencil, markers or etching words in desks, chairs, textbooks.

    In response to not wanting to live in or working in this environment. Obviously I wouldn't want to live in a place full of gangs. Interestingly, since I started working at the detention center, and learned about these signs, I noticed that they're everywhere. Next door to me young boys always congregate, and wear a lot of red. Are they in gangs? Or they just want to act like they are? who knows? they have never done anything to me, one boy actually went to school with my daughter, and he knows I'm a teacher, because I subbed in his class. I treat them with respect and that's what I get so far.
    I have seen shoes on wires, and some graffiti. I've lived here for 5 years and nothing bad happened (i have seen the cops in our neighborhood maybe twice during 5 years).

    As far as teaching: I don't mind. during subbing I noticed, that the students who really stayed with me were those who had rough lives. sure, I had fun subbing in the best school of the district, it was easy, and I felt like they actually wanted to learn from me. but when I went to the 2 lock ups, or the alcohol/drug rehab school, I actually felt like i was making a difference. It was more fulfilling, rewarding and challenging, and when I wasn't there, I missed them.
    The lock up is probably the best place to teach when it comes to gang affiliated students, because it's a controlled environment.
     
  27. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Both elementary schools I taught at were high poverty/high crime areas (98% free lunch, lots of gang activity, etc.)

    However, I feel as though I had a HUGE impact on those kids. I was someone stable in their lives and I taught them things that their parents didn't realize needed to be taught (work ethic, manners, and so on). Some of these kids still come up to me and tell me that I was their favorite teacher.

    I'd much rather teach in a low socioeconomic area because I feel as though I have a bigger influence on that group of kids.
     
  28. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Yep...you hit the nail on the head, Kate!!! :yeahthat:
     
  29. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Yes! These kids just want to be loved and respected. Of course they'd never admit it. In my classroom I posted a lot of posters with inspirational quotes (most of them from FB LOL). I feel that the kids can relate to these, they're about overcoming obstacles, not giving up, etc etc. They're pretty awesome, yet, the one most kids pointed out and commented on was this: "To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world".

    I have also received so many letters and poems from these kids; now and when I was subbing (never from other schools). You, as a teacher, may be the only person who can really show that you care abut them, respect them, and want the best for them, even if it means giving them structure, discipline and tough-love.

    Thinking about this, I can't wait to go to work tomorrow :)
     
  30. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Thank goodness for people like you, Linguist92021. :)
     
  31. Linguist92021

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    aww, thank you :) :love:
     
  32. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    No signs of gangs here. Sometimes a group ("gang"?) of them will go shopping together in a Volvo station wagon with a "Coexist" bumper sticker, but I think that's fairly benign.

    I don't know how some of you deal with the distractions you do. I feel fortunate, even a little guilty, to be honest.
     
  33. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Just imagine the distraction it is for the kids. We have gang activity at my school, but the number of kids involved, even peripherally, is probably less than 15% of the student body. However, the other kids feel and are affected by the presence.
     
  34. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Yes, the entire situation is unacceptable. I favor making it much easier to throw a student out of school. I would further have the law changed so that society is not in such cases required to "provide an equivalent educational experience." Honestly, I am not sure at what age this policy ought to be applied. 14 might work.

    I am also in favor of restoring the long-abandoned notion that a high school student can "flunk out of high school." For this to be restored, we would of course have to restore the notion that a student can flunk even one course. A combination of parental rage, administrative timidity, and intrusive legalities now makes this approximately impossible.

    I have other ideas likely to be found equally draconian.
     
  35. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Do you think it is easier to have the influence on those groups of kids though?
     
  36. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    What on Earth are you talking about? Students fail classes and end up going to the continuation school or dropping out all the time, at least around here. At your high school, are you not allowed to give a student an F if that's what he or she earns?
     
  37. Linguist92021

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    I don't think it's easier, but if you succeed, it's more noticeable. Kids usually join gangs to fill a void in their life: most of the time they have no family / parents (meaning, they're not the type they need, they're in jail, always high, abusive, absent, etc., so they're really not there as parents). The kids want to have a sense of belonging, and they find it in gangs.
    It doesn't mean they don't want to be loved, appreciated, respected. A lot of them don't value education, because they have failed so far, or don't see how it could benefit their lives. This can be changed. (it doesn't mean they'll leave the gang).

    Most people have given up on these kids, so when there is a teacher, friend, relative, anyone that shows that they believe in them, it can really make a big difference. their lifestyle and mentality is hard to change, but you never know what kind of a difference you can make by letting showing respect and caring to these kids, and set high expectations.
     
  38. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    "At your high school, are you not allowed to give a student an F if that's what he or she earns?"

    Oh certainly you are. (I do.) That's when the fun begins. I maintain a large flock of ducks all in very tight little rows, just for such occasions.
     
  39. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    We can give "Fs," too. Although our principal usual invokes "administrative discretion" and passes them, as he claims the Pennsylvania Education Laws allow him to do.

    It makes our 40 weeks with them meaningless and the kids know it.


    :banghead:
     
  40. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Thankfully, we can give students exactly the grade they earned.
    But in a school I taught at previously this year, that was not the case.
     
  41. Linguist92021

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    At my school the principal actually made it a point in one meeting that it's interesting how none of our students get Fs or Ds, however, a lot of them are below grade level in skills, and not doing class work, fail tests, etc.
    Teachers are trying to be nice and lower the bar on everything, and then still pass them.

    So far I haven't failed any (since October), but gave quite a few of them Ds. This time around I will probably have to give a few Fs and have no problem with it. It's not fair to pass a student who doesn't do the work, when there are those who struggle and do the work and still can only get a C.

    Our P only asks that we have student work to back it up. She also says we shouldn't even say we 'give' a grade, we simply 'mark' the grade the student earned. I like that.
     

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