COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Linden McKinley STEM Academy community is coming together tonight addressing violence in their area and across Columbus.
That’s just part of the reason why students, staff and parents hosted a peace rally tonight before the homecoming game. Students, teachers and parents are calling on each other to come out and support their kids in a time where many of them are experiencing violence and the deaths of their classmates.
“The Linden area period…We need peace,” says senior at the Linden McKinley STEM Academy Auante Cox.
He was just one of students who spoke at today’s peace rally.
“There’s just so much going on right now,” says Auante. “We just need to we need to come together and be one.”
Nineteen balloons were released at the peace rally. It symbolized the 19 students who have been killed, mostly to gun violence since January 2015. All of them went to Columbus City Schools.
“I think it’s really time for a stand by everybody and it starts with the community,” says assistant girl’s basketball coach John Davis. “It can’t just start with the students making a change. No, us as adults and as a community really have to step up.”
Parent Edward Small says more parents need to get involved and show the kids they’re cared about.
“Come out and support these kids. This is what we do. This is what we raise our kids to do, to show support to them,” he says.
Science teacher and registered nurse Randy Osborne helped save a 15-year-old student’s life last week after he was shot on the school’s front lawn.
“I was in the building and someone said ‘Mr. Osborne come quickly… Someone’s been shot,'” he says.
But Osborne says tonight, homecoming has been filled with positivity.
“There’s been a lot of strained emotions, both in teachers and students, and it’s so nice to come together in peace and to celebrate the good things,” he says.
And despite all of the pain and loss, Auante says right now he’s not thinking about the violence that’s plaguing his community.
“I don’t see what everyone talk about. I see happiness,” he says. “We all unite together when stuff like this happens.”