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11-year-old Kauffman School student killed in her home helped plan community violence workshop

Ewing Marion Kauffman School
Posted at 11:09 PM, Apr 17, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo — When a child goes to school, they're bringing everything in with them.

Ewing Marion Kauffman School student Erica Nivins knows what that means.

"At five or six, I was sitting on the couch and there were some gunshots," Nivins said. "I thought they were fireworks so I kept standing and if it weren't for my mom pulling me down I would've died. They shot through the door and the window."

Nivins is not old enough to see a PG-13 movie, but she and her classmates can say they've seen violence hit close to home.

Their classmate, Kourtney Freeman, was killed April 10 after being hit by bullets shot from outside her Kansas City, Missouri, home.

Kourtney was 11-years-old.

Kourtney Freeman
Kourtney Freeman was a student at Ewing Marion Kauffman School.

At their after school program, 'Kauffman Cares', the school's therapist started off the group asking students how they're doing.

"For me, this is the second time someone in my class had gone out, but not just die, it was a gun," a student told the group.

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The children in the program are in the fifth and sixth grade. They're coming to school to talk about adult topics when they should be writing, reading and just being middle school students.

Their classmate, Kourtney, is all they can think about.

"I'm not very well," Nivins said. "I'm crying more than I've cried ever. Crying in school more. It's the fact I have to come to school every day and can't see my best friend anymore."

Kourtney Freeman
Kourtney Freeman (left) and Erica Nivins (right)

One memory of of Kourtney they can smile about was her involvement in putting together 'Kauffman Cares' first community violence workshop focused on hope, transformation and healing.

When they come back to school this weekend for the workshop, they might bring in the pain in their hearts, but they're bringing Kourtney, too.

"I know it's something Kourtney would want me to do," Nivins said.

The event will include panelists and advocates discussing the impact of violence in the community.

The school also will honor Kourtney.

The workshop is Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, 6401 The Paseo, Kansas City, Missouri.

An RSVP is required and can be made by calling (816) 268-5660.

A Kansas City, Missouri, police department spokesperson said there is no new information about the deadly shooting. No one has been arrested.