Schools are failing to stem the flow of children into gangs

Fourteen-year old Jaden Moodie was brutally murdered by 19-year old Ayoub Majdouline in January this year. Both boys were drug dealers and gang members. The violence that grips London and has seen murder rates soar to their bloodiest since 2008 is down to one thing: the status and thrills drug dealing offers disaffected young men. The Telegraph reports.

A few years ago, I befriended a south London gang, and wrote a book about my experiences. The majority of young gang members I interviewed dropped out of school at 14, or were expelled like Jaden. They were usually humiliated and angry after their primary schools had failed to teach them basic literacy. Twenty-eight per cent of children are unable to read well by the time they start secondary school, rising to 44 per cent for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Among developed nations, only the UK has this tail of underachievement.

But it is not just academic. If boys are not engaged in primary school, it is too late by secondary school. In a primary school in the East End of London, I watched a queue of seven-year-olds walk listlessly along a bench, each with a bean bag on their head, then jump off. The boys could not have been more bored. The headmistress boasted to me that she had banned all competitive sports. Drug dealers in the making, was my thought.

What could be more thrilling to a 14-year-old, after years of bean bags, than doing deals all day?

The irony is that drug dealers are often at the height of their careers at 14. “My phone’s ringing. It’s all hustle and bustle for me right now,” one told me excitedly. 

Read the full article Schools are failing to stem the flow of children into gangs 

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin


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  1. Mr Mike Bell

    Why is it schools’ responsibility to keep children out of gangs? The primary responsibility lies with the parents and family.

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