Law enforcement, 5th graders attend anti-violence rally at Jungle Island

MIAMI (WSVN) - South Florida students and police officers are standing together against violence at a rally that will hopefully implement change.

Fifth graders from across Miami-Dade County Schools made a peace pledge Friday.

“Violence is killing people, and we want our families,” said one student.

Another student is asking for a call to action. “Stop killing young people,” he said.

Six hundred students raised their right hand and pledged for a school year without violence and promised to do the right thing.

The Anti-Violence Youth Rally was assembled by the Do The Right Thing Organization where fifth-grade students from nine elementary schools are specially selected to recite a “victory against violence” pledge at Jungle Island, Friday. They were joined by South Florida law enforcement agencies.

“We target fifth graders because they are on the cusp of going to middle school where there are even more peer pressure and more issues that they’re going to be dealing with,” said executive director of Do The Right Thing, Jodi Atkison. “We’re hoping that this is a strong message to them into the future.”

This is the sixth year that Jungle Island has partnered up with the program, and while the students will be discussing some serious topics, they will also be able to enjoy the nature and the animals at the park.

The pledge to put down the weapons comes just one day after three teens were shot in Miami Gardens. It also comes after cries of peace from the community, after 8-year-old Jada Page was shot and killed in front of her grandmother’s house on Aug. 28.

On Thursday, dozens gathered in Northwest Miami-Dade as Page’s family pleaded for the shooter to come forward.

The shooting is something the organization said occurs all too often. “It bothers me every day because I work with law enforcement, and we are trying to mend that gap somehow,” Atkison said.

Atkison hopes the anti-violence message sticks, so the young leaders of tomorrow get the chance to live life to its full potential. “We think putting that message out to the young people and repeating that message will hopefully help them stay on the right track,” Atkison said.

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