Tuesday, October 20, 2015


     A couple of weeks ago I noticed two of my students using hand signals to talk to each other across the room. My first thought was, "How do these two kids know sign language?" But then I realized that they were using gang signs to communicate. This is called "stacking." While most of the signs are common among all gangs, each individual gang has their own "dialect" so to speak.
     I have no doubt that many of my students are, if not full on members of gangs, initiates. Which means that it will only be a matter of time before they have to prove their worth and either be jumped in (beat up by other gang members) or commit a crime to prove their loyalty.
     I didn't say anything to the two young men the first time I saw it, but today they started in again. For one thing it's distracting, for me and the other students. I sent one kid outside and continued with the lesson. When we were at a stopping point I went outside to speak with him. He complained that I was picking on him, that everybody did it. I told him not in my classroom, and I wanted him to stop. He said it didn't mean anything. I looked at him and told him I knew stacking when I saw it. He seemed surprised I knew what it was.
     I may be old, but in this job; I have to keep up!

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