Gang rumors nix school activities

SNELLVILLE -- Rumors of non-students trespassing on school grounds led South Gwinnett High School officials to cancel athletic practices, club meetings and after-school programs Tuesday, an official said.

The cancellations were measures by administrators dealing with a flare-up of gang violence on the Snellville school's campus in recent months.

Gwinnett Public Schools spokesman Jorge Quintana said "chatter" about trespassing students earlier this week caught the attention of administrators looking to cut down on loitering after school, prompting some after-school activities to be canceled. An eighth-grade parent night continued as planned, Quintana said.

The rumors did not involve South Gwinnett students, he said.

The cancellations come on the heels of five student arrests last week on felony gang activity charges. Quintana specified that the two issues are not related.

The students are accused of subjecting a gang recruit to a ritualistic "beat-in" in a school bathroom late last semester. The incident surfaced when a parent found home video of the beating and came forward to school officials.

It marked the second round of student arrests at South Gwinnett for alleged beat-ins this school year.

"This issue this week was not related to the incidents from last semester," Quintana said.

Each student is facing disciplinary action in addition to criminal charges, officials have said.

Several changes in passing period and bathroom supervision have been made since the incidents, Quintana said last week.

In addition, counselors are conducting "small group guidance sessions" that focus on behavior prevention strategies, he said.