‘This must stop’: Shelby County Schools superintendent asks for community’s support after school shooting

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 12:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2021 at 12:46 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The superintendent of Tennessee’s largest school district had strong words following a school shooting in Memphis Thursday.

“This has to stop,” said Dr. Joris Ray, superintendent of Shelby County Schools. “This must stop.”

On Thursday morning, a 13-year-old student was shot at Cummings K-8 Optional School. The suspect -- also a juvenile -- later turned himself into police.

“The gun violence must end,” said Ray. “The school’s working closely with Memphis Police Department. We’re doing all we can to keep our students safe.”

Ray asked for the community’s support going forward, not only with this shooting but with crime in general.

“I implore everyone, if you see something say something,” said Ray. “We can’t allow our children to hurt from gun violence.”

Students were escorted from the school after the shooting and ushered onto buses. Ray says they were fed before being bused to Metropolitan Baptist Church where they were reunited with their parents.

Ray commended Cummings school leaders, saying they followed the district’s plan for events like this, and he thanked the church for their partnership.

“We operate our plan, but this is a time for the community to step up and help our children, to step up and wrap their arms around our school,” said Ray. “We’re going to do everything in our power, everything in our power to keep this from ever happening again.”

The superintendent said the investigation is ongoing and he’s learning new information “by the minute.”

He spent time earlier Thursday morning at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital where the victim is currently in critical condition. Ray planned to return to the hospital to check on the boy who he said was rushed into surgery.

RELATED | State, local leaders react to Memphis school shooting

“My concern right now is getting back to Le Bonheur to check on this young man,” said Ray. “This has to stop. We need to look at our laws. This has to stop. No way a child should have a gun. This must stop. But we need the community to help us, help our children.”

Ray said he wasn’t pointing fingers, but Thursday’s shooting could’ve been avoided.

“If you see something, say something,” said Ray. “If you know something, tell someone.”

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