Advocates discuss solutions to tackle violence in wake of Mount Vernon teen's death
Advocates in Mount Vernon discussed new ideas Friday to combat youth violence in the aftermath of Kayla Green's fatal stabbing.
The discussion comes two weeks since the death of 16-year-old Mount Vernon High School cheerleader.
The memorial for Green on East Prospect Avenue is serving as a reminder of what happens when youth violence goes unchecked and activists say schools need to do a better job of getting to the root causes of it.
The Mount Vernon cheerleading captain was killed as the city celebrated the high school's boys basketball state championship.
Her violent death left the community's teens shaken.
Advocates for youth safety stepped forward with ideas to help teens address personal issues without violence, like teaching conflict resolution in schools.
"Hopefully, we can prevent another senseless death from occurring," said Gregory Thompson. He is the executive director of the National Decarceration Network, an organization that addresses the underlying socioeconomic factors that fuel inner-city violence and mass incarceration.
Mount Vernon has been resilient in the weeks since Green's death, with students organizing a walk-out, hundreds gathering for vigils, while others demanded systematic changes to address bullying in schools.
The city offers dozens of youth bureau programs, which include those focused on social and emotional development for teens and young adults.
Mount Vernon leaders believe this could be one solution if more people took advantage of them.
Green's funeral arrangements have been set for Saturday, April 30 at 9 a.m. at the Macedonia Baptist Church.