By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 15, 2019
GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- Law enforcement officers responded to Gadsden County High School on Tuesday. No one was in trouble, and they want to keep it that way.
They're encouraging GCHS students to stop the violence as the officers took part in a student rally Tuesday afternoon.
Quincy Police Chief Glenn Sapp says they've seen a trend in Gadsden County of young people getting caught with having or using guns. He's trying to stop and reverse that trend, starting with a Stop The Violence student rally.
Students filled the GCHS gym, quietly listening to what community leaders had to say.
The Quincy, Gretna and Havana Police Chiefs, along with other law enforcement officers and community leaders, encouraged the students to stay away from criminal activity.
Chief Tracy Smith says two weeks ago, 12 kids were arrested in Havana.
Teens like ninth-grader Liberty Gibson say they hope students get the message.
"When I think about the violence in my community, it really hurts my heart," Gibson said. "To see my own fellow peers getting hurt, it just hurts my heart."
The leaders want students to understand the seriousness of gun crimes and violence, giving examples of a local 15-year-old girl going to prison for three years and a 16-year-old boy serving 30; officers said he wasn't even the one with the gun.
After the rally, they had a pizza party. Several students also had the opportunity to win money.
But, through the fun, food and funds, the leaders want to make sure the real takeaway is having a safer community and officers believe the students can help them as they interact with their peers.