Experts: Gangs, social media may be contributing factors for guns at school

Local News

The Clark County School District Police attributed some of the gun incidents this year to gang activity. But some say there may be other contributing factors to this dangerous trend.

Growing up, Alex Bernal said he hung out with the wrong crowd.

It “led me to get in trouble; getting arrested,” said Alex Bernal, coordinator for the Clark County Parks and Recreation Back On Track program.

But now he has dedicated his life to keeping kids off the streets.

Karen Castro, Reporter: “Is there a problem with gangs and kids?” 
Bernal: “Yes, there is a problem, and it’s throughout the community.” 

Bernal says just like a rollercoaster gang activity has its ups and downs.

“This summer it was real slow, then it started picking up,” Bernal said.

He believes gangs are using a powerful marketing tool that appeals to youth.

“The social media, I think has been horrible for; as far as gangs — increasing of gangs,” Bernal said. It’s “because it’s helping them because they’re using social media to do; to recruit.”

Aside from the gang activity, Bernal has also noticed more gun violence.  Kids busted on weapons charges end up going before Judge William Voy.

The judge said he noticed that he has also seen a spike in these types of cases.

“The consistent theme we’re seeing more than anything else is ‘why did they bring the gun to school,’ and the answer to that questions is for their own safety,” said Judge Voy.  “Not so much within the school setting safety issue, but when they leave school to walk home.”

Because of the Back On Track program, many delinquent youths end up working with Bernal.

“Judge Voy is a big supporter of our program,” Bernal said. 

According to Bernal, they know the program works, but there aren’t enough like it.

“What makes our program effective is that we adjust to the youth,” Bernal said. 

Back On Track has been around for more than two decades and has four locations.

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