B’ham teachers, students gather to voice ideas on ending school violence

Finding a solution to a deadly problem

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - School safety is an issue sweeping our Nation. What to do when shootings happen? How to prevent them?

The scripts don’t get easier to write. The shock of knowing it happened again doesn’t fade. The fear of if and when it’ll happen again, for some, is paralyzing.

The conversation continues in Birmingham as parents, students and administrators come together to find a solution to this deadly problem.

The National Coalition for Safe Schools (NCSS) was in Birmingham on Saturday night, hosting a powerful meeting of the minds. Teachers, students, and leading experts voiced their concerns and shared ideas on how to end school shootings, bullying, and social anxiety.

School shootings are a sobering reality. 2018, according to national statistics, was the deadliest for American students and educators.

“[It’s] confusing and terrifying,” said Emily Bebenek, Mountain Brook High School student.

“It did affect me... hard for me to go,” said Blake Fields, Mountain Brook High School graduate.

The issue hit home in 2018 when 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington was shot to death at Huffman High School.

Just this week in Montgomery, a 17-year-old was shot at Robert E. Lee High School. That student is expected to survive.

Mountain Brook students weighed on finding a solution.

“There’s definitely a stigma... solid diagnosis,” said student Marielle Cornes.

“If we are more open... effects can be mitigated,” said Bebenek.

The NCSS says these conversations are needed, as there have been too many shootings and not enough progress to prevent them. NCSS also says mental health services and social-emotional learning training are essential for preventing students from choosing violence.

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