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Westerly watches for gang signs

March 28, 2011

Westerly school officials have invited an expert on gang activity to speak with parents and students after a violent incident, which has prompted concerns from some parents.

In January, a student from another school district was severely beaten outside a Westerly school building. Westerly Superintendent Roy Seitsinger, Jr. says police have charged several adults in connection with the altercation and found no evidence of gang activity at Westerly High School.

“Yes there are incidences. We have a thousand kids that attend our school, and there are always issues that come up,” Seitsinger says. “But in the environment of our school as I walk it every day, the general atmosphere of the high school is one of education and industriousness.”

Seitsinger has ordered special training for school staff to increase their vigilance for signs of gang activity.

“We have training that has been in place for a while around violent situations,” Seitsinger explains. “This training is just an awareness of gang signs and symbols as an additional measure to make sure we’re not missing something somewhere.”

According to Seitsinger, police are keeping an eye on some individuals in the Westerly area who they suspect of gang involvement, but none of those people are currently students in Westerly public schools.

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