WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Police say if your child goes to school in Winston-Salem, he or she likely shares a hallway with a gang member. In the case of one Winston-Salem teen, the interaction didn’t stop there.
Donna Combs is an employee with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Her son, she says, is a student at North Forsyth High School.
“Approximately five gang members were harassing him daily at school. Following him to class, throughout the hallways,” said Combs.
The gang, according to police, is called the “Brick Squad,” a hybrid gang based off of the Bloods. Combs says members of the gang followed her son off school grounds, drove beside him and, according to police records, “pointed a finger out of the door in the fashion of a gun”.
“I think that’s the day that he realized, ‘Oh okay. This is real,'” said Combs.
Combs says her son didn’t want to make a big deal of it, so he didn’t tell her. However, some other students in the neighborhood spoke up.
“They came to me and said ‘The Brick Squad has put a tag on your son’s head,'” said Combs.
She wondered what exactly a “tag” meant; a question which was soon answered when officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department came to conduct an investigation.
“A tag was, they’re [going to] kill him. That’s what that means, a tag,” said Combs.
Combs said she filed a request with the school system, asking to have her son moved from North Forsyth to Reagan High School. She claims school officials told her that her son could move to Mount Tabor High School instead. However, Combs says Mount Tabor has a similar gang problem.
“I’m not asking for a kidney. I’m asking for the school system to do what they are supposed to do, and that is ensure my child’s safety and his educational needs. They’re failing miserably,” said Combs.
School officials say they cannot let students and/or parents decide on a school of their choosing. They say they have a window each spring, where they can request to be in certain schools and they base staffing off of that. Combs said she learned of the threats after that window had closed.
“I’m not going to give up. If it means I lose my job, I’m a mom first, I’m not giving up,” said Combs.
School officials say they have a strict gang policy and a bilingual staff member who focuses exclusively on gang related activity.
Winston-Salem police say they believe the gang situation in schools has improved in recent years.