New Bedford May Revive Anti-Gang Violence Afterschool Program
An afterschool program that fizzled out in New Bedford may be coming back. Joanne Correia Marques, parent of a New Bedford High School graduate and current student at the school, wants to bring back the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program to the City's school system. The program had students meet with city police officers, talking about the dangers of gang affiliation and street crime, and going on field trips with the officers.
Marques says in light of the recent killing of 15-Year-old Mateo Morales, it's a relevant time to bring the program back. "Losing that young boy at fifteen years old, it opens my eyes because I have a son that age. He (Morales) wasn't my son, but he lived in my city. And I like my city."
Marques tells WBSM News the program lasted for several years, beginning in 2005, and yielded great results. "Out of all of those students that participated in the voluntary program, all of them are off to college. There never was any problems that I was aware of," recalled Marques.
The program was funded through a grant, and school resource officers had to be certified before heading up the after school gatherings. Marques says she's in communication with officers and city officials, and will soon be proposing the revival of the program to the New Bedford School Committee.