Mike's Thoughts


Behavioural Consultant Program Leader, South Area Behaviour Resource Team, Waterloo Regional District School Board, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

"Your presentation remained a lively lesson for all of us on the South Area Behaviour Resource Team as we clearly remembered the differences between respect and fear, and the illusion of protection and family belonging that entices youth into gangs. Because we deal daily with troubled kids your lessons and the great hand out has served us well in improving our own skills in this area. Your skills in reaching kids of different ages as well as professional staff with respect, clear headedness and with street wisdom impressed us all! Know you HAVE made a difference and that we are grateful."

3 Big Lies All Gangs Tell

#1 Protection


Gang members tell themselves they must belong to a gang to remain safe, before, during, and after school


Membership in a street gang exponentially increases risk of physical danger to the gang member.

#2 Belonging


Gangs claim to treat you like a family and care about your welfare. They claim not to judge and to accept you as you are - good or bad as that may be.


Gangs function directly opposite of true families. Where true families sacrifice, for example, for the benefit of individuals, the gang requires the individual to sacrifice for the whole. Further, the gang does judge you by requiring a certain type of dress and adherence to a rules code, often enforced violently.

#3 Respect


Gang members always mistake fear as respect. They continually worry about who is, or is not, showing a proper amount of "respect/fear". Fear does share many results with respect but there is a significant difference.


One can make another afraid but no one can force another to have regard for another person. The difference between respect and fear is the difference between repulsion and attraction.