DENVER (KDVR) — A survey being conducted at DSST Elevate Northeast and East High School shows a large number of kids are being exposed to gun violence.
The school’s survey showed 81% of students said they felt gun violence was normal, 72% said youth violence affected their learning and 64% said they were personally affected by gun violence.
So far, 47 students have been surveyed according to Jason McBride, Struggle of Love Foundation Secondary Violence Prevention Specialist.
McBride said the survey is still being conducted.
McBride said many of the students he works with at DSST Elevate Northeast have been surrounded by violence. That’s the reason DSST middle school students wanted to sponsor an event to hopefully deter violence among kids.
The theme of the afterschool event was called “Have Fun Not Guns”.
“It’s important to do stuff like this to get the kids off the streets and have fun so they are not out doing bad stuff,” DSST Elevate Northeast student Daeonna Denzmore said.
The event was something the kids thought of doing, so they planned it with the help of the Struggle Of Love Foundation. One of the goals was to offer students a safe place to gather and talk about gun violence and how it’s impacted their lives.
“It’s something that needs to be talked about that we have been avoiding,” DSST Elevate Northeast student Yasin Sekue said.
The students also helped design billboards which have been posted near East Colfax and Quebec. The billboards ask the public to help decrease youth gun violence. DSST Elevate Northeast student Jasah Banks helped design them.
The eighth-grader said he’s seen a lot of youth gun violence which he adds has become part of normal everyday life.
“It’s shocking at first but then over time you stop caring. You don’t stop caring, its just not always on your mind,” Banks said.
This “Have Fun Not Guns” afterschool event is the kids’ way of trying to do something to help themselves.
“I think it’s important to get their perspective and start to do some of the things they want to do. Not what we want them to do. We have to include them more in the decision-making process,” McBride said.
“It’s important to do something like this to show the world there is more than bad and show there are positives in the world and get guns off the street,” DSST Elevate Northeast student Sincere Williams.
It’s not clear what kind of impact this event will have on the students attending. Students said they are just hoping to make a difference.