The school principal invited community members and district representatives as the problem of gangs is not only related to school life, but it is expanding to the district level. Indeed, it is a principal’s responsibility to ensure quality learning process that is not hindered by any external factors (Vornberg & Hickey, 2018). Therefore, eliminating the gang problem is the top priority of the principal. The principal decision to invite community members and district representatives can be explained by its scope. Gangs are affecting not only education of students but the work of teachers. They also threat community members as more students are joining gangs that may result in forming criminal groups in the nearest future. As such, there is a need to involvement of other bodies to solve the problem. Community members and district representatives may further work with families of students who are the members of gang groups. They may also call for a meeting of a whole community with legal body representative to explain the seriousness of the problem and find the ways of mitigating gang groups.
I think the principal is doing such meeting based on theory and job responsibilities. It is said that principals should address any issues related to learning process and solve those issues with regards to school laws and ethics (Vornberg & Hickey, 2018). The presence of gangs in the school is affecting students’ studies and teachers’ ability to teach, thus it should be immediately solved by the administration of school and the principal. Moreover, human capital of the school that include teachers, students and other workers should be supervised and protected from external factors, such as school gangs. The principal acted according to the circumstances, calling for discussion people who can assist in dealing with the gang problem among school students.
Having a meeting with community members and district representatives can provide bureaucratic solutions, such as ensuring speeches by policy officers or legal representatives and hiring more security workers. The former solution can be a good start for the school administration to inform students about legal consequences of their gang activities. Students may be not aware of seriousness of their membership in gang groups, thus these speeches by police officers or legal representative may be informative and thought-provoking for some students. The latter solution will ensure less gang activities in school and may prevent some violations of school ethics and regulations. This is because security guards will look for violations and report students who did them.
The principal may also organize disciplinary seminars that will teach students about rules and regulations of a school. Such seminars along with construction of school culture are included in a principal’s leadership responsibilities (Vornberg & Hickey, 2018). Moreover, the meeting of school, community and district representative may suggest banning gang attributes in clothes and styles of students. Yet, it will not prevent students from joining and participating in the gang operations.
Although the gang problem can be controlled in school and teachers may provide their classes without any fear, still it seems that students will participate in the gang activities after school. Having strict regulations and increased security guards do not guarantee a decline in the gang function but may otherwise provoke even more violations of school rules and ethics. This is because of their youthful maximalism that works against the school administration and the principal. Therefore, there is a need for more comprehensive approach when dealing with school gang problem. For example, school may provide anonymous box for students’ worries and concerns. By this box, students can feel that their voices are heard and that they are not alone in facing this saturation with gang membership. By such an approach, these solutions may add to the maintenance of the gang issue.
When addressing the gang issue, school culture plays a critical role. This is also a primary responsibility of the principal to build school culture and enhance students’ involvement in school activities (Vornberg & Hickey, 2018). The concept of school culture includes encouraging students in school life and providing them with resources that are needed to be active in school. Moreover, providing freedom of action is also crucial as students will take responsibilities in making school events, hence learning how to act with accordance to laws and still do what they want.
School culture also consists of values that is constructed by the instructions of a principal (Vornberg & Hickey, 2018). The values should be written in the code of conduct and must be reinforced by teachers and school government representatives. Additionally, these values should be the core principles of the school culture that every student should know and most importantly, understand. Students should be aware of why those values are relevant and why they should know them. By this, the gang problem which results from poor culture may be addressed and mitigated. To do such changes, the principal may apply more democratic leadership strategy that will allow students to act freely and decide for themselves how to do certain events, yet being loyal to school rules and ethics.
Vornberg, J., and Hickey, D. (2018). Texas Public School Organization and Administration. Kendall Hunt Publishing; 16th edition.