Lake City, SC - Some parents in Florence County learned new tips to help spot gang activity Tuesday night.
The Lake City police chief says many children are finding their way to these violent groups through the internet, and there are ways parents and schools can work together to keep them out of trouble.
"This is a preventive measure that we are putting in place for students in this district, and we hope that this will provide students an avenue for change," Lake City High School Principal Ned Blake said. "We also hope this will provide students an avenue to reach out to students, their peers, adults within the school building and adults within the communities."
Giving students the support they need and making sure their schools stay safe, Florence County School District 3 leaders are focusing on gang awareness. They hope to prevent a dangerous problem before it even starts by educating parents and the community.
"Love your kids; find out what your kids are into; be more focused on who their friends are; be the nosy parent," Lake City Police Chief Jody Cooper said. "That's what i want you to be, the nosy parent."
Cooper gave parents tips on how to tell if their kids are turning to gangs and how to stop them from turning to a life of crime.
School leaders are making this a priority too with programs to keep kids in class.
"When they're not in school then they get involved in other things they should not be involved in," Kasey Feagin with Florence School District 3 said. "We've organized a district committee with the help of those agencies to help us try everything we possibly can to keep kids in school as long as we possibly can."
Parents who attended Tuesday night's meeting say they'd like to see more of this community outreach.
"I just think its a great thing they are doing and that they continue to do it in the community a little more often so we can get more people involved," Fedora McGill said.
Cooper says it's going to take a community effort to stop a new generation of kids from becoming potential gang members.