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May 21, 2014

Gang members create more sexual harassment in schools, KU study finds

Gang members in schools do more than disrupt learning; they create more sexual harassment, a study co-written by a University of Kansas researcher shows.

Gang members in schools do more than disrupt learning; they create more sexual harassment, a study co-written by a University of Kansas researcher shows.

Anjali Forber-Pratt is an assistant research professor in the Bureau of Child Research at KU, according to a prepared statement from KU. She helped write a study on gang activity in a Midwestern middle school with known gang presence and students from the lower strata of socio-economics, the statement said.

The co-authors interviewed students about experiences with gangs, sexual harassment and victimization – and found high levels of sexual harassment.

The researchers, based on their work, now believe students tend to follow gang leaders to avoid becoming victims themselves. They mimic some behaviors to fit in, the statement said.

Forber-Pratt said in the statement that the research will become part of a larger work on gang presence and school safety, with the goal of providing insights on creating safer school environments.

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