Shelby County commissioners looking to make change after school shooting

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 8:29 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Schools superintendent, Dr. Joris Ray, met with the parents of both boys impacted by the Cummings K-8 shooting last week.

Ray shared a picture that shows the four praying with a caption that reads, “RECONCILIATION… These families elected forgiveness. They chose LOVE over hate. We prayed for healing and restorative justice for our children and our city.”

Ray was set to have a discussion with Shelby County commissioners about school safety today, but that meeting was rescheduled.

However, commissioners did discuss a resolution that could help prevent future incidents.

The recent shooting at Cummings K-8 left Shelby County commissioners asking what they can do to ensure there’s not another similar incident in the future.

“Conflict resolution is just something that I think that could be helpful for our students to have the tools to hopefully resolve these conflicts before they arise,” Shelby County Commissioner Mickell Lowery said.

Wednesday, commissioners discussed a resolution that encourages Shelby County Schools (SCS) board members to require the district to offer conflict resolution courses as a means to prevent and reduce violence in primary and secondary schools.

School board member Stephanie Love was part of the discussion.

“I agree that we can always get better, and when I say we, I’m saying collectively, because a lot of our students come into the school with issues that are taking place in the community,” Love said.

Love said there is a process to resolve conflict. She said students are taken to a counselor, who is often a teacher or coach.

She also said the district has implemented a “reset room” where students who are having challenges in the classroom can go for a talk.

“Some of the challenges that our children have, have been bullying, just issues at home, issues in the community,” Love said.

Love said providing resolution courses would require additional funds and suggested talking with Ray and those overseeing social and emotional learning to see what works and what changes can be made.

“Allow the school district to provide a presentation because there may be some who may not know everything and all things that Shelby County Schools is doing, and then during that presentation, the school district can provide where the leaks are, where the challenges are,” Love said.

Lowery said it’s not a matter of funding, it’s about finding a solution for conflicts between students.

Commissioners voted to continue discussing this resolution in the next committee meeting October 27.

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