Local panelists talk about stopping violence

Organized by Ridgeway residents Sylvia Harrison and Moses Bell. The panel included Winnsboro Department of Public Safety Chief Kevin Lawrence, left, Kenyetta Mitchell representing the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, Dr. J.R. Green, Superintendent of Fairfield Schools, Fairfield County Sheriff Will Montgomery, Julie Hall of the Solicitors Office and Rick Gibson, Pastor of Brown’s Chapel. | Barbara Ball

WINNSBORO – A Stop the Violence meeting at Bethlehem Baptist church in Ridgeway last week brought six local law enforcement and education leaders together to discuss ways the community can work together to eliminate violence – primarily youth violence – in the community.

Harrison facilitated the discussion.

The panelists discussed ways to communicate to the community when there is gang activity, how to use social media, the newspaper, gatherings, and talked about ways to protect the youth in the community from becoming part of gang violence.

Kenyetta Mitchell talked about some of the apps kids use to communicate with unsavory people, and the harm it can bring those kids. Education, she said, is key to prevention.

“The fifteen years I was a teacher, the kids taught me how to get around firewalls. Kids are smart. Talk to your kids,” she said. “If they can’t talk to their parents, there’s someone online that will talk to them.”

The panelists warned parents to keep an eye on what their kids are doing, who they are with and to monitor their computers and phones.

Dr. J. R. Green warned parents that they shouldn’t worry just about their child’s chrome books but to also be aware of dangers lurking in their cell phones.

“Parents,” he said, “can never believe their child is involved in gang activity. But if there’s gang activity, it has to be somebody’s child. To solve a problem, we have to address the problem.”

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