The Saints and the Roughnecks,_The_Saints_and_the_Roughnecks.html

The teachers, their parents, and people in the community knew that these boys occasionally sowed a few wild oats. They were totally unaware, however, of the extent to which the Saints engaged in delinquency. No one realized that “sowing their wild oats” completely occupied the daily routine of these young men. The Saints were constantly occupied with truancy, drinking, wild driving, petty theft and vandalism. Yet not one was officially arrested for any misdeed during the two years I observed them.

This record was particularly surprising in light of my observations during the same two years of another gang of Hannibal High School students, six lower‑class white boys I call the Roughnecks. The Roughnecks were constantly in trouble with police and community even though their rate of delinquency was about equal with that of the Saints. What was the cause of this disparity? The result? The following consideration of the activities, social class and community perceptions of both gangs may provide some answers.

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