• Woodland Hills School District holds forum on student safety after recent violence


    A call for peace coming from concerned parents in the Woodland Hills School District.

    Channel 11 was there as more than 100 hundred people attended a student safety forum.
    They demanded immediate change and shared their own stories.

    “We got babies getting killed,” said parent Ciara Thompkins. “One of my son’s best friends just recently got killed. I’m tired of seeing my son go through pain. I’m tired of consoling them.”


    A wave of violence began in May, when 17-year old Vallen Mack, a 10th grader at Woodland Hills, was shot and killed in Swissvale.

    In July, 19-year-old Jeremiah Jones, a star football player who graduated in 2016, was shot in Wilkins Township

    On Nov. 25, 14-year-old Augustus Gray, an eight-grade Woodland Hills student, was killed in Lincoln-Lemington.

    Also on Nov. 25, a 24-year-old Woodland Hills graduate, Lamont Carry, died in Wilkinsburg.

    And on Nov. 27, 16-year-old junior Jerame Turner, a junior at Woodland Hills, was shot in Turtle Creek.

    Community members spoke out and collaborated on finding a solution to what appears to be chronic violence plaguing the youth.

    “They need that mentor, that role model. ‘I got your back, I love you.  Don’t gotta be out here in these streets,’” Thompkins said.

    “It takes a lot of heavy lifting to make a difference in a young person’s life,” said Ernest Bey of Mad Dads of Greater Pittsburgh.

    Parents remain hopeful that something sticks. 

    “Pray for love and support. If you have time, be a mentor,” Thompkins said.

    Parents also talked about the need for better and more after-school programs and youth mentoring.


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