Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Education

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Sheila Gregory

Second Advisor

Dr. Moses C. Norman

Third Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner

Abstract

This study examined gang violence through the lives and eyes of young male gang members. Throughout the conduction of this study; surveys were given and interviews were conducted to explore the phenomenon of gang violence as well as its implications for educational leaders. Variables were discussed in order to discover their influence on gang participation, activity, and violence. The variables ranged from lack of fathers, lack of religious belief, lack of positive role models, and the addiction to the gangster lifestyle, just to name a few. Of all the variables explored, the one that was unanimously the strongest was a lack of fathers. This prevailed throughout my research. Every gang member stated that a father or strong parental support/parental supervision, could have ultimately changed the outcome of their lives, most importantly leading them towards a life that did not involve the streets. Data showed that our educational system is failing our youth who are coming from urban environments and being educated in urban schools. My interviews showed that these young men feel that either teachers do not know, do not show, or simply just do not care about what goes on in the lives of these students outside the classroom. This dissertation gives an open, honest, and rarely seen picture of actual gang life along with the social and psychological effects it renders on its victims. For the first time, gang members spoke about their wants, loves, fears, and aspirations. This dissertation gave them a platform to be heard as individuals with real life problems that need attention and not ‘just another gang member.” Look then, if you will, at life from their perspective in an attempt to gain solutions through insight that can be applied in the classroom to achieve scholastic success. In ending, my hope is that the dissertation can be used by educational leaders to change the norm of urban schools in order to produce an environment that allows all students to succeed.

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