Seattle cannot “pretty up” a significant gang problem, editorializes the Seattle Times. A new $8 million youth-violence-prevention program will bring police to five middle schools. A focus on middle schools makes sense, the Times says, because officers help prevent gang association by focusing on at-risk students with truancy and suspension problems. If it becomes possible to place officers in more high schools, the city and school district have to share costs. The city is willing to pay at least half of the cost, but the school district has been all but mum.
Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske is careful about using the word “gang” in connection with shootings because it diminishes the life of victims. There have been shootings of young kids who are wannabes–not-quite gang members. The risk is understating the magnitude of a growing problem. Last year, six local teens were killed in gang-suspected violence. The city has an aggressive youth-violence-prevention program. The city and school district need to share resources to protect kids, declares the Times.