GANG ATTITUDES & ACTIONS: Strategies & Interventions


[semester equivalent = 3.33 credits]



Michael Sedler



The phenomenon of gang related criminal youth activity has plagued our larger urban centers and inner cities for over two decades. However, in recent years we have seen an out migration of this type of activity and a linkage of gang activity with drug distribution. Smaller cities, towns and even suburban communities that, until recently, had no experience in dealing with this violent criminal subculture, suddenly are immersed with gang activity.

This course will explore the reasons gangs exist, how they are formed and what is the core of their existence. Participants will learn gang terminology, what defines gang attire and how to identify gang behavior. Levels of gang activity will be discussed along with specific strategies to minimize this activity in your schools.

Topics to be addressed include: types of gangs, how to discourage kids from joining a gang, pre-gang behavior, assessment and planning guide, intervention and strategy guidelines, system approach to gang prevention.

Several successful programs will be presented along with daily rules and guidelines to discourage gang involvement. Participants will find themselves more confident and capable of working with these at risk youths upon completing this course. 

This course is appropriate for educators in the K-12 range.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Identified factors contributing to gang activity.
  2. Developed strategies to address school-wide pre-gang behavior.
  3. Intervened effectively when confronted with gang attitudes or actions.
  4. Listed intervention strategies for gang behavior, gang discussions or attitudes directed within a classroom.
  5. Developed an effective program for a classroom, school or district as it relates to gang behavior.
  6. Assessed appropriate interventions and integrate them into daily routines in the schools.
  7. Addressed preventative methods within the school system for students.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



You may choose one from the Bibliography or select a relevant book on your own, with my prior approval.
The Bibliography is located at the end of the syllabus.
Text books may be ordered directly from the publisher (see the list/phone numbers at the back of your manual), on-line, or through bookstores.  

None. All reading is online.


Once you register, log onto the instructor’s website at Click on Classes, then scroll down and click on Gang Attitudes & Actions manual. The manual will download as a PDF file to your computer.



Assignment #1:  Read the Manual.

Read all materials in the manual obtained from the instructor.

Assignment #2:  Read Your Chosen Text.

Read a book from the Bibliography or one of your choice with the instructorʼs approval.  If taking this course in a group, each person should read a book.  Only one person needs to write a summary.

Assignment #3:  Complete Forms in Manual.

Complete all the forms found in the manual. Send specified forms to instructor.

Assignment #4:  Literature Review.

Review literature (a minimum of 4 magazines, journals) on general topic of gang behavior. 
Choose one review and write a one (1) page summary. 
Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Gang #4.’

Assignment #5:  All About Gangs.

Identify general gang behaviors or characteristics in your school or community.
Write a 1-2 page summary.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻGang #5.ʼ

Assignment #6:  2 Week Journaling.

Keep a 2-week journal of articles, media (TV, radio, magazine) stories and other related information on gang activities.
  • Make notes of each story and your impressions.
  • Have a minimum of 3 entries.
  • Write a 2-3 page paper.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻGangs #6.ʼ

Assignment #7:  Analysis & Recommendations.

Using the text read for the class, compare and contrast ideas, suggestions and interventions found in the book with those areas found in the literature review and presented by your district or community.
Create a summary of your analysis and note changes you would recommend. This assignment may be a written 2-3 page paper, a graphic report, or created as a PowerPoint presentation.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻGangs #7.ʼ

Assignment #8:  Local Law Enforcement.

Contact your local law enforcement office and, using the “gang question format” found in the manual, ask questions pertaining to gangs.
Write a 1-2 page summary.
  Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻGangs #8.ʼ



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation.  This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students.  If you are not teaching in a classroom, please contact the instructor for course modifications.  If you are a classroom teacher and start or need to complete this course during the summer, please try to apply your ideas when possible with youth from your neighborhood, at a local public library or parks department facility,  (they will often be glad to sponsor community-based learning), or with students in another teacher’s summer classroom in session.

Assignment #9:  Local Assessments & Interventions.

Using the “Gang assessment and planning guide” worksheet, assess your own school and community.
Develop a list of interventions for gang activity within the school. Share this list with a fellow educator.
Write a 2-3 page paper.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻGangs #9.ʼ

Assignment #10:  Lesson Development.

Assignment #10:  You must choose either “A” or “B”  (Required for 400 and 500 Level) 
Assignment #A: (SEND commentary to Instructor)
  • Develop a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
  • Write a 2 page commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
(The following is encouraged but not required):
Assignment #B:  (SEND lesson and summary to Instructor) Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.
  • Develop a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Write a 2 page summary concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.
 (The following is encouraged but not required):
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog prior to writing your article.
  • Please email a copy to Rebecca Blankinship ( THI blog curator and media specialist. 
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Subject line to read: (Course Name, Blog)
Send to instructor:, Subject Line to read ʻGangs #10 (A or B.)ʼ

Assignment #11:  (500 level only)

In addition to the 400 level assignments complete one (1) of the following options:
Option A)  Contact a fellow educator from another district or community. Discuss the program ideas utilized in their school setting.
Compare this to what you know of your district or community as well as the information in the literature review.
Write a 2 to 3 page summary.
  Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻGangs #11-A.ʼ
Option B)  Another assignment of your own design with prior approval of the instructor.
  Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻGangs #11-B.ʼ


Assignment #12: (Required for Clock Hrs, PDUs, CEUs, Act 48, 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?

Send to your instructor at their email address. Subject line to read  "(put course name here) Integration Paper"


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Mike Sedler, D.Min., M.S.W. brings over 30 years of educational experience as an administrator, social worker, behavior specialist and teacher to each of his classes.  

He provides consultation services and seminars throughout the United States and Canada for schools, agencies and businesses.  He has been teaching “adult learning classes” since the mid 1980’s and has had the privilege of working for The Heritage Institute for over 25 years. 

He has a graduate degree in Social Work, a Doctoral degree in Ministry, a Counseling license, as well as his teaching certification (K-8).  His combination of classroom experience, behavior intervention approaches, and involvement in working with hundreds of families allows for an excellent blend in all his classes.

Mike is passionate about children and emphasizes the importance of avoiding power struggles, offering options/choices to children, setting clear boundaries and guidelines as well as finding a place of positive engagement and connection with each individual.  His heart for people and emphasis on positive communication are found throughout his seminars and classes.

All of Mike’s classes are practical and “field tested” in schools and classrooms. Educators have found ongoing success in implementing Mike’s clear and concise approaches.


GANG ATTITUDES & ACTIONS: Strategies & Interventions

You may pick a book not from the list with the instructorʼs approval.

Bryk, Anthony and Allensworth, Elaine, et al.  Organizing Schools For Improvement.  University of Chicago Press, 2010.  A strong book sharing research and conclusions for making schools better (grades K-12.)    773-702-7700.

Chesney-Lind, Meda.  Girls, Delinquency, and Juvenile Justice.  Wiley-Blackwell Publications, 2014.  A discussion on female delinquency and gangs (grades K-12.)   877-762-2974.

Coloroso, Barbara. The Bully, the Bullied, and the No So Innocent Bystander. Harper Collins, 2016. Helping parents and teachers to intervene with children.   800-242-7737. 

Fisher, Douglas and Frey, Nancy, et al.  How To Create A Culture Of Achievement In Your School And Classroom.  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2012.  How to help the school be a welcoming place and minimize gangs and violence (grades (K-12.)   800- 933-2723.

Gerstenfeld, Phyllis.  Hate Crimes.  Sage Publications, 2013.  Comprehensive book regarding hate crimes and the response.    800-818-7243.

Howell, James C.  Gangs in America’s Communities.  SAGE Publications, 2011. Comprehensive book discussing foundations of gangs, interventions, and anti-gang programs (grades K-12)  800-818-7243.

Klein, Malcolm. Street Gang Patterns and Policies. Oxford University Press, 2010.   Exploration into gangs and their behavior patterns (grades 7 - 12.)     (location in England)

Robertson, Warden Howard.  The 411 on Bullying, Gangs, Drugs, and Jail.  Amazon Digital Download, 2013. The study of the psychopathy of inmates and delinquents.  (62 pages)

Swift, Richard. Gangs.  Groundwood books, 2012.  This book investigates the roots of the problem and how we fail to understand gangs (grades 5-12.)   800-343-4499.

Trump, Kenneth.  Proactive School Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning.  Corwin Publishing, 2011.  How schools can cooperate with community agencies for crisis situations (grades K-12.)   800-233-9936.

Valdez, Alvelardo. Mexican American Girls and Gang Violence. Palgrave MacMillan Publishing, 2009. 
Focuses on girls involved in gangs and their interactions. (adult)  888-330-8477.                                                                                                                 

Valentine, Bill. Gangs and their tattoos. Paladin Press, 2000. Discussion on gang environment, tattoos and symbols (grades 7 - 12.)      800-392-2400

Zahn. Margaret.  The Delinquent Girl.  Temple University Press, 2009.  Examines gender gap between male and female offenders (grades 7-12.)   800 621-2736