Milwaukee School Board discusses ways to end youth violence

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MILWAUKEE -- Four Milwaukee Public School students have been killed in violent incidents, since just last December. Tuesday night, the Milwaukee School Board held a special meeting with only one item on the agenda: how to end the violence and keep students from dying.

Milwaukee Public School District leaders say Tuesday night's meeting was a call to action, and say it really is a matter of life or death. However, stopping violence among youth is a problem, without an easy solution.

Bradley Tech High School student Denzayle Williams has lost two classmates in the last two months. Both 16-year-olds died from gunfire, and Williams says one was a close friend. "When Eddie died, it really hurt because I was just with him the day before he died. It hurt me to know he was gone," Williams said.

In all, four MPS students have been shot and killed since December 28th. Even more have been injured by gunfire. In late January, three teenagers survived being shot at a home on North 40th Avenue.

"We must act, and we must act now. We cannot let another young person lose his or her life," MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said.

School Board President Michael Bonds is asking people in the community to step up. They want more people to volunteer to be crossing guards, playground patrols and after-school tutors. They also want more after-school options for kids, and school-to-work programs. "It's an effort to bring together a whole bunch of people throughout the community to say 'hey, we love our youth. We want to work with our youth. We want to save our youth.' We want to make this long-term sustainable change in the lives of our youth," Bonds said.

For Williams, it's personal - he doesn't want to lose another friend to violence. "It's gotta stop in some way, somehow. I'm glad they actually took the initiative to put the effort into trying to make it stop," Williams said.

The Milwaukee Public School District says this is just the beginning of their discussion on ways to end youth violence. They had so many people turn out for Tuesday night's meeting, they say they'll be holding another meeting so everyone gets the chance to speak.