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Sheriff's program aims to deter third-graders from gangs

May 22, 2012 |  9:15 am

Third grade might seem early for children to join a gang, but officials in San Bernardino County aren't taking any chances.

Beginning this fall, sheriff's deputies will reach out to third-graders in the Apple Valley School District through a new program designed to steer younger children away from gangs.

The idea for the program — which will feature special assemblies, classroom meetings and workshops — began when officials saw kids as young as 5 years old getting involved in gang activity, NBC4 reported. The television station said Apple Valley has "hundreds of confirmed gang members."

District officials told the television station it would take a collaborative effort to help prevent students from joining gangs, but they hoped that younger students would be able to absorb the program’s positive message.

"It's the perfect time to help them make good choices," Superintendent Tom Hoegerman said.


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— Kate Mather