that a current IPS student was fatally shot and another 14-year old male
was injured by gunfire. This message – one of several that I have
received over the past year – compelled me to draft the following
I am troubled about the violence that is impacting our young people.
Nearly each weekend, I receive a phone call about a student, former
student, nearby student – or a young person who should be enrolled in
school – who was involved in a senseless act of violence.
Our schools are a microcosm of our society and the neighborhoods in
which we live. Often, what happens in our schools is a spillover of what
is taking place in our neighborhoods, and most of our schools are
neighborhood schools. It is a symbiotic relationship, that’s why working
together is so vital to address our mutual challenges.
The rash of violence in our schools must be tackled from the outside
in and the inside out. I firmly believe the behaviors we are seeing in
schools here and across our nation have a direct correlation to what our
young people are seeing and experiencing in our communities,
particularly in our high-poverty areas.
We must all own the violence that is impacting our youth. We must
acknowledge that they are replicating what they see. Now is not the time
for finger pointing; now is the time to work seriously and
collaboratively on the issue. It is my hope that, as a community, we
will rally to build solutions to this urgent problem. In doing so, we
will all benefit for years to come.
I was encouraged this week by a conversation with several community
leaders around creating better educational opportunities for Indy’s
youth. Within minutes, I heard that we all share the same vision for
young people – one of promise, knowledge, opportunity and access.
Good intentions are congruent among our local business leaders,
faith-based leaders, public officials, service providers, thought
partners, and supporters. We all want to see our youth thrive in an
environment where they are safe and feel understood. We all agree that
we must inspire them to dream, encourage them to work hard, and show
them the way.
If you are interested in learning about ways to become part of the solution, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317.226.4000.