MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis-Shelby County Schools is stepping up its efforts to help students stay out of trouble and potentially help others in the process.
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner and Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis both stopped by Georgian Hills Middle School in Frayser with a word of advice: find an adult you can trust.
As these sixth, seventh, and eighth graders walked in, those taking part in this school assembly were hopeful the students would walk away with several valuable lessons. At the top of that list is staying safe.
“Safety is a community-wide issue that we are all struggling with right now,” said MSCS Board Commissioner Michelle McKissack. “Sometimes our young people are the ones that can help us attack that problem.”
The event, by all accounts, is designed to encourage students to make smart choices.
“You have a chance to go out there and do what you want, you can go out there and play sports. Just go get your degree,” University of Memphis student athlete Hayden Anderson said.
Even Davis knows things aren’t always so simple, especially once the students leave school grounds.
“So many of them are vulnerable, they can become victims, or they can become participants, and what we want to do is take every opportunity to discourage any type of nefarious types of activities,” Davis said.
For student moderators Celeste Smith and Prentiss Richardson, both eighth graders, nothing is impossible.
“Stay away from anything that could jeopardize you, your physical health, or your career,” Prentiss said.
“You can follow your dreams. You can roll with your goals. Peace is always the key to success,” Celeste said.
Thirteen guns have been reported through the “Trust Pays” initiative this year. More than 200 firearms have been removed from schools since it launched in 2006.