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Student summit discusses recent violence in Kansas City

Posted at 6:54 AM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 18:48:19-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the violence in Kansas City, Missouri continues to set records, the community is fed up.

Less than 24 hours after three homicides took place, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and Mayor Quinton Lucas got local students involved in the discussion of violent crime.

The violence summit involved 25 Kansas City Public Schools high school students who have been impacted by trauma or violence.

As of Thursday afternoon, Kansas City had 126 homicides and 14 involving kids 18 years old and younger.

"We are trying to find new partnerships and new ways to look at this very stubborn and very old problem," Peters Baker said.

The Center for Conflict Resolution led the discussion with students as they shared their experiences.

The goal was to figure out how to come together and learn different approaches on deescalating a situation without resulting to violence.

"We recognize we don't have all the answers, there's not an answer that's at City Hall, there's not an answer at the prosecutor's office, that's at the police department, that is unique and is special, we need to engage with youth in our community," Lucas said.

In August, 41 Action News spoke with KCPS Superintendent Mark Bedell about how the district is taking a proactive approach in helping students through trauma.

“I have lost two siblings that were murdered in Rochester, so from a personal, local and immediate position, it's painful,” Bedell said. “When families have to deal with the countless numbers of murders, um, I'm frustrated as a leader right now, because we have to do a better job I think as a city, of being able to help control some of the social and emotional distress that these people who are committing these murders show up with, and providing more help on the front end, versus on the back end."

City leaders and community members told 41 Action News involving students in the solution is a step in the right direction.

"We're looking to a group of students to help educate us and guide us and give us some ideas of how we can better serve them and how we can better serve the needs of those individuals who are really impacted by violence," Peters Baker said.

Lucas said he was hoping to hear proactive approaches from students that he could quickly implement in Kansas City.