Through a collaboration with the Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit, Granite School District provides a prevention program called Choose Gang Free. All 5th grade students in participating Granite Schools take part in this program.
The Choose Gang Free program actively engages students about the importance of staying gang free, the consequences of being in a gang, as well as myths about being in a gang. This course teaches students that they are in control of their own choices.
The mission statement reads, “Choose Gang Free will promote change through opportunity, education, and collaboration, and restore hope by empowering youth and families to choose a gang-free lifestyle.”
Students participate in a one-hour weekly lesson to learn about gangs for 10 weeks. They discuss multiple areas including:
- Common gang identifiers
- Risky behaviors
- Gang’s impact on family and community
- How to avoid becoming involved
- Setting positive goals for their future
- How to get involved in positive alternative activities
After the end of the 10-week session students attend a graduation and receive a certificate of recognition for completing the Choose Gang Free Program.
Some of our schools, including Rolling Meadow, Sandburg, Whitter, Hillsdale, Hunter, Granger and Orchard, signed the pledge to stay gang free and graduated from the program this past November.
The goal of the Choose Gang Free Program is to empower students to set goals, identify dangerous or risky situations and know who to go to if they need help. Students learn how to acquire self-knowledge and demonstrate skills for goal setting as well as skills for decision-making.
A week is now dedicated to Choose Gang Free after Governor Gary Herbert signed S.B.145 on March 21, 2019.
30,700 gangs were documented in 2012. Of the 782,500 members involved, 40-60% were under the age of 18 in some areas.
Choose Gang Free services 30 schools and has impacted more than 1,335 students’ lives.