Griffin Middle School holds assembly on gun violence

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 2, 2019

Florida A&M head football coach Willie Simmons spoke to students at Griffin Middle School about recent gun violence in the community.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Community members and leaders addressed a group of middle schoolers, hoping they ca be the key to ending violence involving young people.

A "Stop the Violence" assembly was held at Griffin Middle School Monday.

14-year-old Jemichael Mitchell was one of the students attending and says gun violence hits close to home for him.

He says he was at the fair with his close friend, Amarion James last month. Shortly after departing, he heard Amarion was shot and killed.

"I just froze. I couldn't do nothing. I was shook. I was laying down, I was shook. I couldn't move my muscles. I could barely breathe. I was like, wow, this is crazy, I was just with them," Jemichael said.

Jemichael listened Monday as community leaders spoke to the male students at Griffin Middle School about gun violence.

FAMU head football coach Willie Simmons says he had to do something after being on the scene and seeing Amarion taking his last breaths.

"The thought of having to get that phone call or not having my kid come home again, is just something I couldn't imagine. It's too many mothers, fathers, grandparents that are waking up to those phone calls. We definitely have to do something to put an end to it," Simmons said.

"I hope it stops because I don't feel like losing another one of my brothers," Jemichael said.

Guest speaker Sterling Westberry, an ex-felon turned businessman and mentor, is hoping to deter youth from crime.

"I'm just one of those soldiers that's out here on the battle ground. I believe that everyone can be reached. Every youth because all they need is someone who really loves them, who really cares about them, and who's willing to take the time with them," Westberry said.

The messages seemed to be getting through to 13-year-old Keelen Colley.

He said, "He was like, think before you act. So that's what hit me. I should always think before I act and watch my steps."

Griffin volunteered to be the first school to participate in the 'Stop the Violence' assembly. Administrators say it's the school superintendent's vision to bring it to more middle and high schools in the district.


By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 2, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Recent gun violence has plagued the Capital City, with much of it involving teenagers.

School and community leaders at Griffin Middle School are hoping to put a stop to that. The school put on an assembly Monday morning focusing on gun violence awareness.

Leaders said their goal was to have serious conversations with the students, hoping to make a difference for when they go out into the community.

The assembly held inside the school's gymnasium was specifically geared towards the male students at Griffin.

Several guests spoke to them about staying away from guns and making positive life decisions.

The community members shared their personal stories, including one Tallahassee man who served a prison sentence and turned his life around.

A mother whose son was shot in 2018 also spoke at the assembly.

Assistant state attorney Eric Trombley and Florida A&M head football coach Willie Simmons also spoke to the students. Administrators say they hope the students will spread this message to other schools in the Tallahassee area.

The girls attended a separate assembly at the same time. Speakers there told them about human and sex trafficking awareness.

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