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Wenatchee Valley schools reach out to community after increase in gang activity

The Wenatchee World - 5/3/2022

May 3—WENATCHEE — Wenatchee and Eastmont schools plan to continue community outreach following a reported uptick in gang activity.

Wenatchee School District administrators, school resource officers and the Wenatchee Police Department will host a "community conversation" May 11 to discuss gang activity in the Wenatchee Valley.

The meeting is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the district's headquarters, 235 Sunset Ave. It will include conversations on the rise in gang activity and how to ID gang behavior, the importance of belonging, available resources, the partnership between the police department and school district and how the district reduces gang activity.

Both Wenatchee and Eastmont school districts recently banned several clothing items associated with gangs through the end of the year. Douglas County Sheriff Kevin Morris, Wenatchee Police Chief Steve Crown, Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett and East Wenatchee Police also released a statement on April 20 acknowledging "an increase in gang violence in our valley."

Matt Charlton, Eastmont's assistant superintendent, said the district "continues to work closely with local law enforcement regarding gang activities in our community."

Eastmont holds weekly meetings between school administrators and a school resource officer to discuss concerns. The district hosted an informed parent event on March 23 with a guest speaker who previously was in a gang discussed how to prevent gang involvement.

Eastmont formed a parent advisory committee consisting of parents, community members, clergy and staff members, which met for the first time Wednesday. The committee provides "input on current practices and proactive ways our schools and community can address gang related issues," Charlton said.

The committee has limited capacity, though Charlton said there is space for more parents. Those interested should contact the district at (509) 884-7169.


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