In the Aug. 22 Metro article "Branded in a World of Gang Warfare," Matthew Fernandez was quoted as saying that the hallways of J.E.B. Stuart High School in Fairfax County were "infested" with gangs and that gang members seemed to see it as "their job" to beat up anyone who looked at them wrong.
In my experience as a teacher at J.E.B. Stuart, this is false. Students tell me that they feel safe at school, unlike in some of their neighborhoods. My three children also attended J.E.B. Stuart and were not affected by gang activity. The school has a zero-tolerance policy regarding gangs.
Gangs are a part of life in the Washington area and nothing to ignore, but they are not in control of the hallways or classrooms at J.E.B. Stuart High School.
Matthew Fernandez said that J.E.B. Stuart High School is "infested" with gangs.
I am a 2005 graduate of the school, and in the four years I spent there I saw just one evidence of gangs: a student with "13" shaved into his eyebrows. I figured that the "13" stood for "MS-13," and I reported the student to the administration. He was taken to the principal's office, and I never saw him again.
J.E.B. Stuart's staff and its principal, Mel Riddile, should be commended for their efforts to combat gangs in their school. The evidence is overwhelming that they are succeeding.