South Carolina University Hosts Program with Gun Violence Prevention Panel
The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School program recently hosted Social Action Day, which included a panel discussion on how to end gun violence.
- By Kaitlyn DeHaven
- July 19, 2019
Clafin University holds a program called the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School program, which is a six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment program for children from age eight to age 14.
On Social Action Day, which is one of the days the program holds, the students congregated in the auditorium for a panel discussion on how to end gun violence.
According to the Times and Democrat, panelists included Dr. Anthony Pittman, dean of Claflin’s School of Education; Sgt. Keith Parks of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office; OCSO Investigator Lakesha Gillard; Dr. Ronald Speight, a visiting associate professor of education at Claflin; LaTonya Nelson, assistant principal at Sheridan Elementary School; and Dr. Elrica Glover, assistant principal at Mellichamp Elementary School.
Several Freedom Scholars spoke up about their feelings on gun violence and asked the panel questions.
“Almost every day someone dies due to gun violence,” Jayden Skinner said. “It needs to stop. Innocent people are dying because horrible people are able to buy, sell and use guns. That is all because of our laws because the government isn’t trying to make our country, states and cities safer.”
Glover said that the schools have taken a few different measures to ensure safety because the proactivity of the district is a necessity.
“Last year we received a school resource officer in every school,” Glover said. “It had been in the middle and high schools, but we were happy that we were able to have a school resource officer at the elementary level. Right now, as I’m talking, they’re actually installing cameras in our school.”
During the panel, they also discussed bullying, mental health issues, and the importance of reporting any suspicious activity. Parks said that mental health issues are particularly hard to deal with right now, as there isn’t enough funding in place to have the right people to reach out.
“There needs to come some funding and some training to learn how to help deal with our mental health issue, and our mental health issue in the state of South Carolina is bigger than this room. … It’s bigger than just the schools and your law enforcement. This is something that the legislature has to take up … and they have to put a bill in place and they have to put the money behind the bill,” Parks said.
Other topics discussed by the panel included consequences, and the impact of community.
“These students might have read a book dealing with gun violence in the community. And now they’re actually putting a forum together where we can all as a community talk about that and ways that we can make life better for our scholars, our parents and everyone else that’s a part of our community,” Chaplin III said.
Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.