Gang violence in schools has always been evident, however in past decades it was slightly more controllable, as school authorities were able to immediately identify the persons involved and deal with them before any ideas of further gang involvement could be spread. Whereas in present time gang violence within schools has but become a growing pandemic, infecting not only poorly resourced schools but a few private schools as well. Within this essay the growing phenomenon of gang violence will be discussed, with reference to the group dynamic concepts that exist in the field of Sociology.
GANGS AS SOCIAL GROUPS
Social groups can be defined as a “group that consists of two or more persons between which a normatively regulated distinguishable interaction pattern has developed within which certain common goals are met in connection with the individual motives and needs” (Steyn & Uys, 1998:35). Within that quote fundamental characteristics of social groups are mentioned. Gang members interact throughout most of the day since they spend breaks together as well as group together before and after school thus close personal relationships develop between members. Gangs develop due to given contexts, for instances racial or ethnic discrimination can be seen as two of the few causes. Awareness of membership is seen as a significant factor in gangs hence loyalty to the group is essential, if members express any form of disloyalty they are punished. Every gang has its own norms which are on the contrary specific to the gang, and it these norms that ensure that members are kept together in a unified sense.
WHY SCHOOL CHILDREN BECOME MEMBERS OF GANGS
One of the biggest reasons why children join gangs is because gangs offer a sense of belonging. In most cases, youth gang members are individuals who come from broken homes where they feel neglected and unloved, some are even exposed to abusive behaviours within the family. Existing gang members and leaders can easily identify vulnerable but valuable pupils and thus target the confused individuals. This then creates feeling of anger and hatred, which contributes to them being confused, and thus they seek answers in wrong places.
COHESION IN SCHOOL GANGS
They use tricky and manipulation and inform them about the ‘lavish’ life of being a gangster, they flaunt money, power and popularity in order to win new recruits over. They entice the recruits even further by giving them the attention they need and making them feel like there are part of a family. “The gang becomes such an ‘interstitial’ organisation” (Spergel, 1992:129). Gangs develop due to discrimination being shown to a group of particular individuals based on characteristics they possess (for example, their race; economic status; or nationality) this may then lead those very individuals being discriminated against to join in alliance because there is safety in numbers. The term cohesion is associated with the concepts such as unity or oneness, it...