"Yeah, yeah, I am a Four, I'm a Mafia." When Edward Ferguson, an 8th-grader at Ella Flagg Young Elementary in Austin, hears talk like this, he knows what to expect next. Kids are "representing" their gangs as they pass in the hallways, and the back-and-forth is often the prelude to a fight, either in the hall or outside after school.
"It scares me," says Ferguson, who admits that he has felt pressured to join a gang. "People have gotten beat and seriously hurt."