LELAND -- Aaron Oliver, a fourth grade student at Lincoln Elementary School was asked a question no parents want their child to hear. "Some people ask me, hey Aaron, do you want to be in a gang? And I was like, no." The reality is that gangs do exist in your child's school. Brittney Oliver, a senior at North Brunswick High school, knows all to well. "I see people with stuff on their arm like it's branded, and I have friends that are in to it, but they don't try to get me involved in it". That's why Pastor Charlrean Mapson gathered her congregation together with local law enforcement to educate parents about the warning signs. "One of the things we've learned tonight is that children don't have things to do, they don't have outlets" Officers told parents gang prevention starts at home. Parents need to have engaging relationships with their children so they don't feel the need to get attention somewhere else. High school sophomore Shawn Martin says that's exactly why he would never join a gang. "It seems pointless to me, people go there because they're insecure at home, and I have a good family so I'm straight". Martin is one of the fortunate ones. Mapson used this forum to let students and parents know the doors of the church house are always open, even if there's no communication at home. "I think they're happy, I think they're excited that their church is doing something like this and hopefully it will bring something positive to this community." Experts say withdrawal from family life is a clear sign that something is affecting your child. They recommend outlets to keep your child active like the Community Boys and Girls Club or church activities.
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