ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Public School District and several area charter schools are standing together against gun violence and child killings.
Educators gathered Thursday outside the St. Louis Public Schools Headquarters to launch a long-term initiative called Educators for Gun Safety.
“The initiative, quite frankly, is to create a set of videos that could be used in schools to help kids understand why it’s important that they need to be careful around guns and use gun locks,” said St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams.
“We just want them to be cognizant of the fact that guns are very dangerous,” he continued. “If handled properly, they’re okay. But the gun locks will prevent kids from possibly losing their lives.”
As part of the initiative, parents and students will learn how to safely handle weapons. The group will also give out hundreds of gun locks.
“We too have been impacted by the unfortunate and unintentional deaths of children in St. Louis City. So for us to come together and say, ‘What can we do as educators to help educate families, starting with children, but parents, grandparents, and guardians as well?’ We wanted to join that effort,” said Candance Carter Oliver, the CEO of Confluence Academy.
This year, at least seven children under the age of 18 have been shot and killed in St. Louis. Dozens more have been wounded. Authorities said many of the shootings were accidental and preventable.
Lafrance Johnson, 12, was among the victims. Investigators said Johnson was accidentally shot and killed by his 10-year-old brother last month. Police said a family member left her loaded shotgun on the bed in a room where the children were playing.
Johnson’s grandmother, Francine Strain, is on a mission to make sure this never happens again.
“We’ve lost too many kids back-to-back. So, that should send a message in itself: ‘Oh, I have a gun. Let me make sure I put it up. Oh, they’re giving away free locks? Let me go get one.'”
The St. Louis Public School District and area charter schools serve more than 30,000 students and their families in the city of St. Louis. They said they will continue to give students the tools and information they need to try and stay safe.