Cleveland Kids Speak Out on Recent Gun Violence

By Anne Glausser

The recent shooting violence in Cleveland and the young kids caught in the crossfire have local physicians and community leaders calling for a public health approach to preventing future deaths. At a day-long conference this week panelists talked about the importance of getting at root causes of violence, such as kids not having a role model or a trusted adult they can talk to about their troubles, as well as their career ambitions. 

Jak’i Respress from John Adams High School spoke up about the importance of his teacher in helping him stay on track.  "My teacher, she got me into going into Tri C and along the path into robotics.   So when I feel like teachers shows me they are caring and that they’re here for me, it helps a lot," he said.

Another student, Daisha Rice, has a 7 month old child and was frustrated by the violence she sees.  "The code of conduct in the streets is no snitching. So if you see someone doing bad stuff, peer pressure comes in because you don’t know what to do, you don’t know if you should say something, or should not say something because you feel like you’re going to be next," she said.

Panelists said to undercut this environment of fear, Cleveland needs an all-hands-on-deck, prevention-based approach to violence that focuses on getting young people engaged.  

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