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Days after 3 St. Louis Public Schools students were shot, superintendent speaks up

Dr. Kelvin Adams delivered a powerful message about gun violence at Tuesday's board meeting after three students were shot just days earlier.

ST. LOUIS — Three St. Louis Public School students - two 16-year-olds and a 9-year-old - were shot between Sunday and Monday this week. One of the teens died.

That prompted a powerful and stern message from Superintendent Kelvin Adams at the Tuesday, Sept. 13 school board meeting.

"I'm just wishing and praying that we were more ashamed of how we seem to devalue the lives of our most precious resources," he said.

He said he has had enough of the gun violence.

"It seems that it has commonplace in our city," he said. "And despite the meetings, the peace marches, the prayers, the anger, the crying, the proposals, the chest thumping, the head nodding of affirmation and hand ringing, it does not seem to stop. And more importantly, it does not seem to matter much anymore to this community."

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Shaunte Lewis, a parent of two in the school system, shared the superintendent's frustration.

"One of our worst fears is to learn that our child has been shot or has been involved in a shooting," Lewis said. "... Personally, I never want to go through that."

District spokesperson George Sells said St. Louis Public Schools has resources, counselors and socials workers on-staff to help students affected by gun violence.

"They have friends. They have other family members. They have teachers who care about them," Sells said. "This is a huge problem that has a ripple effect that goes across the school district every time something like this happens."

The district is going a step further with its Educators for Gun Safety initiative by incorporating gun safety into class curriculum.

"Kids need to, when they see a gun, get away from it," Sells said. "... We are working right now on having curriculum in the schools that will help to deliver that message in an age-appropriate way."

More than 80 children in the St. Louis area have been injured or killed by guns in 2022. This serves as an important reminder to keep the guns locked up and away from children.

"(Gun violence) was unheard of when I was in school," Lewis said, "but just to know that schools are proactive in helping the parents and students understand the safety of guns is remarkable."

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