COLUMBIA — A gang awareness forum will be held in the Hickman High School media center at 7 p.m. Oct. 22. Officers Michael Hayes and Jonathan Logan will talk about gang awareness and prevention and intervention methods, as well as answer questions from parents, guardians, students and school staff who attend. The presentation will address the importance of communication with children, key indicators of gang involvement and gang activity prevention methods. The presentation will not address specific gang activity in Columbia, Hayes said.
"We want it to be an open discussion for parents and others to feel welcome to ask questions and participate," said Maria McMahon, a sponsor of Hickman's Bridges group.
The forum is hosted by Bridges, an alcohol and drug prevention club at Hickman, Rock Bridge and Douglass high schools. Each year, the schools partner to hold forums for parents, students and staff. The drug awareness forum is the first of the school year. Other topics previously presented include drug, alcohol and safety awareness. According to McMahon, gang awareness was chosen because of a successful presentation made earlier in the year and because of recent crime and student arrests, such as the Hickman student arrested on suspicion of brandishing a weapon at a football game on Aug. 22 and the shooting death of Tedarrian Robinson in April 2007.