CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – The Brainerd High School Peer Mentoring Group met with the Chattanooga City Council on April 5 to present resolutions to safety issues at Coolidge Park.
Heightened attention comes shortly after a flash mob scene at the park three weeks ago, where more than 300 minors engaged in fighting and shooting. The incident eerily parallels what happened a year ago, when five people were shot. Although reports indicate no one sustained life threatening injuries, there is still concern among members of the community, particularly with Brainerd High School students, over potential future occurrences.
Alexis Moore, Brainerd High student and Vice President of the mentoring group, says that the recent increase of violence in the evening calls for a stricter curfew to be enforced at the park. Moore feels that by implementing a stricter code, it will help decrease the incidence of residential gang violence.
“I have personally lost loved ones due to the curfew not being enforced,” says Moore.
Among those with Moore at City Council, were fellow students and group members Dominique Green, Cordell Parachuri, Rodney Cameron, and Jennelle Thom.
Most of the ideas are about enforcing existing city code:
Code 25-2a, which imposes an 11 p.m. curfew for minors under the age of 16. Code 25-2b, which holds parents accountable when minors under 16 break curfew. And Code 25-1, which prevents congregating and obstructing traffic on city streets.
However, the students also have new ideas that promote safety for the park, such as employing individual security searches upon entry to events, security at all minority-hosted parties in the park and certification of hired security.
Other ideas consist of incorporating anti-violence or anti-gang violence education into local school’s curriculum and enacting a summer job program for at-risk teens.
Thom says that like her peers, she too has experienced losing friends and family to gun violence and believes that “it only takes one person or one thing to stop events like this.” Click here to listen to Jennelle Thom’s solution for gun control.
The City Council ordinance, which passed by a 7 to 2 vote margin in last Tuesday’s meeting, calls for the adult supervision of minors in Coolidge Park between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.