Begin the Rap About Gangs at Junior School

By Rathbone, PRNE
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MANCHESTER, England, January 26, 2011 - A leading youth worker will tell a national conference today (26th
January) that children as young as NINE should have lessons to dissuade them
from joining gangs.

Paul Fletcher, a Director of youth charity Rathbone, will urge schools to
use Personal Health Social Education sessions (usually reserved to teach kids
about everything from acne to the environment) to include warnings on the
dangers of carrying a knife and becoming involved in gangs.

Paul will also use the platform to condemn sections of the media -
including musicians and programme makers - for glamorising gangs and making
youngsters believe they are a protective, cool, alternative family.

"Rathbone has spent over a decade on the streets of places such as East
and North and South Manchester working with young people on the
periphery of gang activity and there is no doubt that children are now being
lured into becoming involved in anti-social behaviour at an earlier age" said
Fletcher. "In US cities such as Los Angeles elementary school children are
being given the tools to resist that pressure and we need to bring that kind
of thinking here."

Paul has already seen the difference education and mentoring sessions can
make during past projects including a recent scheme aimed at high school
students to cut knife crime in Manchester.

Many schools are reluctant to teach children about gangs for fear of
having their community labelled as a problem. But Paul argues that classes at
suburban schools on gangs could put things in perspective and allay worries
about crime, saying: "Lessons would re-assure them that a gang doesn't exist
around every corner. There is a near obsession with gangs in some quarters
which perversely has made them seem attractive especially to more vulnerable

Organised by leading trade magazine Children & Young People Now, the,
"Why do children join gangs?" seminar boasts an impressive array of speakers
including Government youth policy adviser Paul Oginsky and the founder of the
Lives Not Knives Campaign, Eliza Rebeiro. The event takes place on the
afternoon of Wednesday 26th January (2-5pm) at Central Hall, Westminster.

Last year Rathbone enabled over 20,000 young people at 70 training
centres to gain the qualifications and experience they need to move on to
college or find work. Learn more about the charity at:

Press contact: Peter Gibson, Rathbone,

Press contact: Peter Gibson, Rathbone on +44(0)7879-248-722, peter.gibson at

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