The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office is taking a persistent stand against gang recruitment...starting in the classroom.

Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, Toms River (Townsquare Media)

Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the continued expansion of the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program involving his office and other county law enforcement agencies.

This program is centered in the classroom, and with law enforcement officers' guidance and training, is designed to prevent misconduct, violence, and gang enrollment.

The program was started in Ocean County in 2011 under Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Anthony V. Pierro and Sergeant Anthony Carrington, and they say it's been successful.

Approximately 400 7th graders of Lakewood Middle School graduated from the program on June 17.

The Prosecutor's Office highly encourages schools to take part in the program to ensure a better and safer present and future.

If interested in introducing the G.R.E.A.T. program to your school or if you want to learn more, Assistant Prosecutor Jamie L. Schron can be reached at jschron@co.ocean.nj.us.