Tackling Youth Violence in Our Community – FOX13 News Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Many questions remain about what happened at Cummings K-8 School on Thursday.

How did a 13 year old teenager get a gun? What prompted him to use it against another student? How did he get away from school to later turn into a policeman?

RELATED: MEMPHIS SCHOOL SHOOTING: Teen brawl led to Memphis school shooting, police report says

And perhaps the biggest question of all: how do we approach the issue of youth violence in our community.

“The mayor, where are you?” Davis, where are you? Karen Spencer McGee asked on Friday.

A 13-year-old boy was shot and killed by another child in a stairwell at Cummings School on Thursday. The two agreed to meet for a fight, according to a police report. A day has passed and the City of Memphis is still awaiting news from Mayor Jim Strickland and Police Chief CJ Davis.

“We need the same show in South Memphis as everywhere else,” Spencer said.

After the shooting, Mayor Strickland released a statement that read in part: “The shooting at Cummings K-8 school is heartbreaking. I received updates throughout the day and I hope the young man in the hospital makes a full recovery. Please pray for him and his family, as well as for all the students and their families who experienced this horrific event. “

But some do not think this statement is sufficient. And I would like to see and hear from the mayor and the chief of police about getting guns off the streets and out of the hands of children.

“The more people we have to solve this problem, the more we can do,” said Pastor Lonzo Stevinson.

RELATED: Students return to Cummings School the day after 13-year-old classmate was shot

FOX13 asked Pastor Stevinson if city leaders are doing enough to address this gun problem.

“In my personal opinion. No! ”Stevinson said.

“South Memphis has been neglected for a very long time. If these kids had been kids of a different shade, maybe we would have had pizza nights here, balloons, counselors the following Saturday for their healing process, ”McGee said.

“We have to understand why a 13-year-old comes to school with a gun to kill someone else,” said Linda Harris.

Community leaders from across Memphis also gathered outside Cummings School in South Memphis on Friday to discuss the changes needed to ensure this does not happen again.

“We also need to address the underlying causes and issues of violence in our community,” Harris said.

Something Knowledge Quest, a social service organization for young people in South Memphis, has strived to do so for over two decades.

“We focus on academic achievement, character development, socio-emotional literacy, and plenty of counseling and education regarding adverse childhood experiences,” said Jacquelyn Scruggs, director of Knowledge Quest.

Knowledge Quest serves 500 children in after-school programs. He adopted six Shelby County schools, including the Cummings K-8 School.

“We’re talking about if I do this behavior, what the implications will be as a result,” Scruggs said.

PHOTOS: Boy shot dead at Memphis elementary school

Thursday’s shoot highlights the importance of programs like Knowledge Quest and their resources for students beyond simple conversation.

“What we’re doing is a bit beyond talking with the kids. We are calling the whole family to meet with the clinical therapist, ”said Scruggs.

The two students involved in the incident changed their lives forever, but it should be borne in mind that many students in the school may be traumatized by the incident.

Knowledge Quest can help your child understand their feelings about Thursday’s incident. Here is the link.


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