After a close call with gunfire, Cross Creek High School senior Shanice Brown stood even taller and spoke even louder against teenage violence and bullying. During a football game in 2010, a student was wounded standing in the exact spot Brown was standing just minutes earlier.
This week, Brown and other Cross Creek students brought the fight against violence to the forefront of the school hallways. Occupy Cross Creek was the first weeklong program designed by Save our Students, an outreach group formed last fall in response to fatal teenage shootings.
“All we can do is try to prevent it and let those who cause violence know how we feel about it,” Brown said.
Students Against Violence, a long-standing student group at Cross Creek, helped design the curriculum that was recently approved by the Richmond County Board of Education. Following the pilot week at Cross Creek, Save our Students will travel to other area schools for seminars and awareness.
Students dressed in camouflage gear Friday to signify their united fight against violence. Last January, two Cross Creek students were wounded by gunfire in an incident tied to a gang known for wearing camouflage, Principal Jason Moore said.
On Wednesday, students listened to anti-violence messages from Devon Harris, the founder of Full Circle Refuge Ministries, a gang intervention group.
“We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to do a better job. There are too many people hurting each other out there,” Moore said.
Changing violent behavior begins with educating one student at a time, he said. In recent months, several Cross Creek students have expressed regret to teachers and the principal about mistreating other students.
“It’s something we have to constantly talk about – how they handle conflict and anger. Talking about it instead of resorting to violence,” Moore said.
Brown vows to stay far away from gang activity, bullying and school fights. More often than not, she says, violence escalates from senseless disagreements.
“If I can back down out of that situation and show others that you can keep calm, then you can show them it’s possible for them too,” Brown said.