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Students set out to call on city leaders to stop violent crime

Students from InspireNOLA charter schools will march Wednesday, calling on leaders to get the city's crime problem under control.

NEW ORLEANS — We’re two weeks into the new year and the city has already been plagued by a slew of violence.

Tuesday at about 3:30 p.m., NOPD officers responded to a call of shots fired in the 1200 block of South Roman Street. A 16-year-old boy was shot in the leg outside Booker T Washington High School. Two other young people suffered non-gun-related injuries.

Police say the victims are students and following the incident, the school was placed on lockdown as a precaution. 

Jamar McKneely CEO of InspireNOLA Charter Schools says he too has experienced violence firsthand.

“This year alone InspireNOLA charter schools has lost four students. If I look over the past two years that number goes up to nine.” McKneely said.

Over two weeks ago a student at one of McKneely’s schools, Courtney Hughes was shot and killed at a party at a short-term rental in the Lower 9th Ward. Kyron Peters was also killed and another four young people were injured.

“A student who was supposed to graduate this year was unfortunately killed by gun violence, we have a senior who graduated last year and was a freshman in college who was killed by gun violence. It not only affects our administration, it affects our parents, it affects our students, it affects our faculty, every single day we have to look at a chair where a student was the day before and now that chair is empty,” McKneely said.

Students from the City of New Orleans InspireNOLA charter schools will stand together Wednesday to raise their voices, calling for leaders to do something and stop this violent crime.

“They’re afraid to go outside, they’re afraid to go to functions, they’re afraid to go visit friend's schools, they’re afraid to come to games, they’re afraid to get off the bus to go home…no city should have to live this reality.”

Students from Edna Karr, Eleanor McMain and McDonogh 35 will march Wednesday morning, advocating for an end to youth gun violence while promoting academic excellence.

"It's important we impact our youth by giving them a voice, giving them the opportunity to lead and promote this change,” McKneely said. 

He says he doesn’t have the answer but is calling on the city to start running toward the problem, and not away from it.

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