(Memphis) The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office is hoping to keep students out of gangs by having an impact at a younger age, but some wonder if middle school is too late to change minds.
During the assembly Detective Jimmy Chambers had students at Humes Middle School laughing Friday afternoon, but the topics he was shining light on were very serious; gangs and youth violence.
“Some of them don’t understand the severity and the consequences of being a part of a gang,” said Chambers.
Each year the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office heads into Memphis City middle schools to talk about gangs and promote staying in school.
Some people question if middle-school age is too late to have this conversation.
“It’s never too late when you’ve got a breathing body,” said Chambers.
District Attorney Amy Weirich added, “We used to start in high school and then we’ve learned that we’ve got to take it back to the middle school and we’ve even been to some elementary schools, because the younger we can get to them, the better.”
She says they have to be careful though. The conversation is not always suitable for 10 to 12-year-olds.
“It’s a fine line because we talk to them and we show them pictures of real people, real kids that have been arrested and we talk about real violent things so you have to be careful to the age group that you throw that out to, to make sure you’re not doing it too young.”
But Weirich says it’s important that something be done, “Too many of our young people are killing too many of our young people and whether it’s truly gang sanctioned or in the name of the gang, it really doesn’t matter, we just have to do something about it.”