Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the school from which Jireh Porter graduated.
MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — There has been a lot of violence among youth in Mobile this year, and The Mobile County School Board is taking steps to try and decrease that, by launching a new campaign.
The school board launched an awareness campaign against gun violence, their plan is to educate students at school that there are other ways to resolve conflict.
“We feel as though we have a responsibility to address the problem,” said Dr. Reginald Crenshaw, a Mobile County School Board Commissioner, as they announced the program.
Starting this school year, 12 middle and high schools will be displaying posters to try and get a message to teens.
“The school system is indeed aware and trying to put together some solutions to let our young people know we have got to stop this violence,” said Crenshaw.
That message encourages teens to focus on positive ways to handle disagreements instead of picking up a gun.
“Now everybody is so quick to pick up a gun and as one of my board members said if we can just save one or two, it’s worth it,” said Crenshaw. “That’s what we hope to do, awareness and provide an alternative to picking up a weapon.”
Since January, six teens have been killed due to violence in the city of Mobile. One of those teens, Jireh Portis, recently graduated from a Mobile-area school.
She was shot and killed on Bellingrath Road. Mobile police arrested her boyfriend. Her father Darrell Portis believes this campaign will spark some interest among students.
“Even if it’s just a mental trigger for children to see this to know there are other opportunities to solve the conflict in their community because some of them, that’s all they know is to continue to make a situation even worse,” said Portis.
The plan now is to put the posters at the schools that are participating now and also pass out flyers at football games. Putting the posters up is on a voluntary basis but the school board said each principal approached with the idea immediately agreed to participate.
Some of the schools that will be displaying the posters include: Vigor, Blount, Murphy, BC Rain, Williamson, Le Flore, Chastang-Fournier, Calloway and Pillans.