COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF)- Parents and local residents had the opportunity to hear from representatives in the Columbia County legal system on ways to prevent gang violence and drug use in schools.

Todd Hughes who is the Assistant District Attorney in Columbia County, says kids can be brought into gangs at an early age.

“I have seen flyers left at elementary schools about meetings related to gang development. It is sinister that these older gang members , and by old they typically are 18 and into their twenties,” says Todd.

According to the Columbia County School District Police, there are 100 gangs in across the CSRA with over 40 of them believed to be active.

Local officials say social media can play a part in this.

“Even though we train them and teach them within our homes it’s so much outside influence now that influences them which leads into gang connect ability through social media that’s a great gateway and an easy gateway for these older individuals to manipulate these young minds,” said Rodney Brown, Intake Officer with Columbia County Juvenile Court.

Brown also says it’s important to look out for signs when talking to your kids at home. Terrorist threats made by children at school is also a sign to look out for.   

 “As mentioned, a terrorist threat, where an individual put out I don’t feel like going to school tomorrow I feel like blowing up the school, that’s all it takes is someone on the other end to take that and take a screenshot of it shows into a parent and brings it to a school. The school has a responsibility to act upon it,” said Brown.

“It can’t be written off as a kid that was just frustrated, it can’t be written off as something we don’t have to worry about because we’ve never had any trouble out of the child. No, we need to make sure there is not an actual live thread going on,” said Hughes.

 They also say it’s important to have constant communication with your kids.