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Local teacher pleading for gun violence to stop amongst the youth

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 7:21 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2021 at 7:24 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - As the homicide rate continues to rise, many Alexandria residents are pleading with the youth to stop the violence. One woman recently called the whole city out for a prayer event.

Stephanie Ford is a teacher at Alma Redwine Elementary, and as a teacher, she has a front-row seat to the violence happening in the community.

“I have to see my students cry because they lost their parents,” Ford said. “We are losing kids every day because either they are being killed or they are killers.”

Other educators at Saturday’s event joined the conversation.

“[In] like six years...I buried five kids from violence,” Dennis Stewart, the principal at Alexandria Middle Magnet School, said.

“We need to figure out how we can save our city,” Ford said. “Save our kids because they are our future. So, we have to do something about that, and before you do anything, you have to start with prayer.”

After prayer, the work begins, and there’s a sense of urgency after Mayor Jeff Hall said in 2020 homicides went up by 140 percent.

“They either lost their mother or their father, brother, sister, grandmother [and] grandfather to gun violence,” Ford said. “That does something to the kids, [and] that changes their whole mentality. Who are they going to love?”

Ford says the absence of a loved one causes a repetitive cycle of violence. Now she hopes the community can break the cycle.

“You can figure out a way to solve a disagreement,” Ford said. “There many ways besides gun violence. You don’t have to shoot that person. You don’t have to go out and kill. Talk it out. Talk it out as adults, and figure out what is the problem. How can we solve this problem but gun violence is not the way because we are losing too many people.”

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