Stokes: "We can save our children from crime" - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Stokes: "We can save our children from crime"

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Parents and coaches came together at Jackson City Hall Sunday because they say they want to save their children.

The rallying cry comes days after a 14-year-old student was shot in front of a Jackson middle school.

Now one city councilman says this kind of violence has to stop.

"What we're dealing with in Jackson today is a lot of kids who didn't have that support, you know. didn't have that outlet that they could do something different besides what they see in the neighborhood or what they see on TV," said Maurice Smith, who helps coach the Mississippi Lions.

That support, Smith said, helps a child strive for bigger and better things.

"You got these kids out here with no foundation, no father figures. You're talking about 70, 80 percent single mothers, so we'll be the only men in these kids' lives that they see coming up," Smith said.

Smith and other concerned residents met Sunday at Jackson City Hall to talk about ways they can fix that.

The meeting comes just days after a 14-year-old middle school student was shot several times in front of his school.

While it's not clear who's responsible in that shooting, Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes says the city's seen its share of teenagers getting involved in crime.

"Give someone an opportunity to work with your child. Don't sit back and watch your child go the wrong way and do absolutely nothing," Stokes said.

Stokes said outlets like the Mississippi Lions, a nonprofit youth sports organization, help provide that motivation.

At least one parent agrees.

"It's unmeasurable, the amount of assistance and a blessing it is to have someone there to help encourage my son, and just having someone besides me who can help with that discipline and encourage him," parent Whitney Acey said.

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