Panel explores impact of violence on city students

Oct 5, 2017

While last night's meeting in Saint Joseph University Church occurred only days after the massacre in Las Vegas, the panel discussion focus was the effect of violence on kids in city schools. The speakers, Buffalo News reporter Lou Michel and former News reporter Tiffany Lankes, discussed their extensive reporting which showed the difficult realities for city students who encounter violence.

Tiffany Lankes and Lou Michel of the Buffalo News share their findings on how students are impacted by violence during a panel discussion at St. Joseph University Parish Community Center.
Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO

"There's a constant tug of war for a lot of kids in the city, street and scholar, which way is it going to go?" Lankes said in describing the choices some city students face. Adding to the difficulty is that some kids lack family support groups to offer advice. 

Some school systems have had success in dealing with violence-related issues.

"The Los Angeles Unified School District has trauma centers to treat children in neighborhoods," said Michel, though the counseling is not universal.

"The Compton school district, several students there are actually suing the district for not providing treatment to the students."

The event concluded with a vigil of candles and a video about students killed in Newtown, Connecticut in a rampage by a young man with guns.

"If we think things are going to happen overnight, it's not going to happen overnight," said Paul McQuillen,Upstate coordinator of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, who believes changing attitudes lead to change in gun laws.

"I know there's 2018 elections. There's 2020 elections. So, we just have to be vigilant. We have to work hard. We have to go out, beat the paths, knock on doors and get our people elected and make Congress abide by the desires of the American people."