Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley, Sheriff Steve Tompkins, and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz were all in East Boston last week — not to announce the roundup of gang members — but to celebrate the completion by the seventh graders at the Umana School of the Overcoming Violence/Your Future Your Decision program.
This is the type of positive re-enforcement that our children need to hear at this age. Just recently, when members of the MS 13 gang were arrested, what shocked many residents was that gang members were recruiting future members in our middle schools.
For too many children, there seems no better life than being in a gang.
However, this program changes that. These children hear how these leaders in law enforcement had a very similar life experience in the seventh grade as the children they were talking to at the Umana School.
In the end, these seventh graders heard that they need to stay on the right side of the law. We hope that they heed the advice from the speakers who were once in their shoes.