‘It’s a tragedy in our city:’ BCS superintendent addressing city gun violence

Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 8:21 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham City Schools is continuing to mourn the death of 14-year-old Moriah Quib-Marquez who was shot and killed on the way to school Wednesday morning.

Several BCS students have died by gun violence this year alone. It’s a problem that Superintendent Mark Sullivan says needs to be addressed.

“It’s a tragedy in our city,” he said. “It’s a tragedy in our nation. There are way too many guns on the street and way too many people who don’t have any kind of value for human life.”

Sullivan goes on to say that sometimes, school is the only safe place for some students living in the Birmingham-area.

“Our students come from environments and communities where there are some challenges,” he said. “We have to, as a school system, be able to respond when children have issues that present themselves.”

While the district provides counselors to offer support, they are also getting creative and addressing the rise in violence in other ways.

Sullivan says they had a tour around the BCS high schools with the mayor and others, talking with the students about violence and the best ways to respond. He adds they also have a Social Emotional Learning department that teaches lessons on a daily basis.

It’s all to provide students with tools to avoid certain conflicts they may come upon.

The district works to help their students with more than just education.

“Our children deserve long futures,” said Sullivan. “They deserve to be children as long as they possibly can. Some of our children are living in situations that many adults couldn’t even imagine. So we want to make sure, as a school system, that we can address them physically, educationally, as well as socially and emotionally.”

Sullivan says they have a counselor in every one of their 42 schools. They also have dozens of family resources listed on district’s website, including mental education resources and a crisis text line. Anyone can text HOME to 741741 to reach a Crisis Counselor.

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