Students meet to tackle issue of violent crime in Jacksonville

By Corley Peel - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Following a violent weekend in Jacksonville, a group of young people gathered Tuesday evening to have a discussion on gun violence.

Winston Peele, a member of Young Leaders Today, said violent crime is something that impacts the lives of everyone in the community.

"We have to do better," Peele said.

Peele, Rodney Wells and Savannah LeNoble are three high school students who spoke with a panel of Jacksonville leaders during the meeting at WJCT. Wells believes his fellow students have become desensitized to violent crime.

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"It's sad when a student can say, 'Oh, there was a murder on the news, but it's OK. It's whatever,'" said Wells, a member of Young Leaders Today. "The moment we say that (is) the moment we fail as a city."

LeNoble, a member of March For Our Lives Jacksonville, said she questions her safety whenever she walks into school.

"Code red drills give me very deep anxiety," LeNoble said.

Students and adults at the meeting agreed that a solution to help curb violence would be to add more after school programs.

"After the bell rings, they're going home, and they're going to their neighborhoods, and I think that's where the violence is really coming from," Wells said. "When they're able to stay in a very protected environment, it helps." 

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