Local News

May 7, 2014 5:27 PM by Caroline Flores - cflores@kristv.com

Gangs in Corpus Christi ISD Schools

CORPUS CHRISTI - Every parent wants their child to finish school with a diploma. But in too many cases, gang colors become more important than passing with flying colors. One student knows this first hand.

"They ask. They ask. They'll stop you in the restroom or whatever and they'll ask you," said Hector Flores. He joined a gang when he was 14 years old.

CCISD admits gang activities happen on school grounds. In 2012, CCISD police dealt with 24 gang related activities on school campuses. In 2013, that number dropped to 22. So far this year, CCISD police say they've responded to 11 gang calls on campuses. So it looks like the gang activity is going down, but not as much as police would like.

"You'll take your licks. You know licks are... You know. You'll take that maybe if you say no or maybe if you say yes depending on whatever that gang is. But you know, that's just... That's just that," said Flores.

But CCISD is trying everything in its power to stop that.

CCISD has begun a new program called the Character First Program. Every month, students of all grades learn a positive character trait to exhibit throughout the month.

The CCISD police chief says students also try to recognize current and potential gang members early on. But because of pop culture, it isn't as easy as it used to be.

"10-15 years ago you could say well if they wore this color or if they put check marks in their eyebrows, or if they did this stuff it was a little bit clearer. Nowadays it's not," said CCISD Police Chief Kirby Warnke.

So, there's no way of sugar coating this, gangs are in our schools. In the end Chief Warnke says it's up to the students to decide if they want a life of crime or a life of success.

As for Hector Flores, after two arrests and time in juvenile detention, he is no longer affiliated with a gang and plans to graduate from Carroll High School. After graduation he plans on going to Del Mar for welding.

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