JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Cellphone video shows a fight outside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena after Riverside High School’s graduation on Friday.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office provided security at the event and senior officers responded to the scuffle.
Neighbors fear the brawl highlights a larger problem of violence in schools.
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Action News Jax reported on Tuesday that a recent graduate of Raines High School was shot dead just hours after graduating.
Rashaud Fields’ dream of being drafted into the NFL has been cut short. He had just signed a four-year fellowship at Keizer University in South Florida.
“He doesn’t have to resort to gun violence. You all laid down those weapons. You are breaking up families. It just hurts my heart,” said Tonisha James, Fields’ cousin. “We need more leaders. We need more people to stand up for the community and ask these young boys to lay down their arms. Stop using violence.
Action News Jax checked the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office transparency page. So far this year, eight teenagers have been victims of gun violence. That compares to two at the same time last year.
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Duval County Public Schools said it has a team of counselors and mental health professionals to help students when tragedy takes a student’s life.
“While community violence often has an emotional impact, the job of tackling neighborhood crime falls to other agencies. We are cooperating fully, but the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is conducting these investigations,” a representative said in a statement. “Our safety and security priority, and the deployment of our security resources, are directly on our school campuses, where our goal is to prevent community violence from impacting the environment of our schools. ‘learning. We strive to make all schools safe for all students, regardless of what is happening in the surrounding community. »
James calls on the community to come together to help local youth. She works with the non-profit project Alternatives to Violence to help teens connect to opportunity.
“I grew up in the neighborhood. So that’s all I saw. We see the drugs, we see the guns, we see the murders,” said Tricee Bell, James’ cousin. “These children need all of us. We must enrich them with opportunities.
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