CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - One way Charlotte - Mecklenburg school district (CMS) is snuffing out gangs is to give students more alternatives.
CMS will talk about gangs at its Tuesday night meeting.
An after school program at Albemarle Road Middle offers about 100 students the chance to stay out of jail. The program not only focuses on academics but it teaches students to have confidence to say no to gangs.
Administrators say students tell them the program works.
"It's a good place for me," After school program Site Manager Julian Rance said. "It keeps me [students] safe out of trouble. I have previously been in the these type of activities and I am glad I can break away from that."
Schools are not the only ones trying to stomp out gang life in the city, but so are churches.
First Baptist Church West has a gang prevention program. More than 70 male CMS students come to the program every week.
They learn how to be a productive citizen.
"If the church does not step up," Pastor Ricky Woods said. "And leverage its resources it has, then the church itself is going to be in trouble. People are going to be afraid to go out on the streets in the day and night."
Everyday there are about 5,000 CMS students who skip school. Those kids could be recruited by gangs.
Neighbors are asked to call police if they see a student out on the streets during school time.