MIAMI (WSVN) - After a recent shooting in a school parking lot sent one South Florida teenager to the hospital, a community is now demanding change, as the mother of the teen accused of pulling the trigger claims her son was protecting himself from a bully.
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board held a meeting to discuss the recent shooting at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, as well as ways to combat gun violence, Wednesday afternoon.
School Board member Dr. Steve Gallon, who represents District 1, weighed in on the shooting that took place on Jan 11. Gallon was previously a principal at the high school.
“I don’t think it’s a school system issue, I don’t think it’s an educational issue. I think it’s a societal issue, I think it’s a national issue,” Gallon said.
But when Gallon was asked about the specific issue at the high school he used to head, he deferred to M-DCPS Superintendent Dr. Jose L. Dotres and other officials.
“I think that’s something I’ll leave to the superintendent and the administration to respond to,” Gallon said.
School Board member Luisa Santos, who represents District 9, said the calls for added security measures don’t happen overnight.
“The best day to start is today. So, you know, we will have more discussion as we did in our closed session yesterday, obviously not open to the public for security reasons,” she said, “but you can rest assured that this board takes safety and security as its most important priority.”
Concerned parents voiced their opinion Wednesday night to the school board on safety measures that they feel are long overdue.
“We need to upgrade a lot of systems that can help our kids,” said one parent.
“We feel that we need metal detectors in that school for the safety of our children. I am asking right now to implement a clear book bag policy as a start,” said another parent.
The calls for help comes after a fight broke out near the high school and ended when a teen pulled out a gun and shot another teen.
The suspect in the shooting, 15-year-old Kenahri Smith, was arrested and charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery with a weapon, discharging a firearm on school property and possession of a firearm by a minor, among other charges.
Speaking on the phone with 7News on Wednesday, Smith’s mother, Kiara Kendrick said she believes her son did the right thing.
“He protected himself. Oh, it’s no need to run when you didn’t do nothing wrong in my eyes,” said Kendrick.
The mother of the accused shooter told 7News that her son is a good person and that he had been bullied for some time prior to the shooting, including by the victim. She said he had bullied her son over the last couple of months as well. The bullying may have started through social media.
She said she did everything she could to stop the harassment.
“I thought I squashed the situation now reaching out to the little boy’s mom, but I guess he didn’t listen to his mom, and he still did what he wanted to do to my baby,” said Kendrick.
Kendrick said she has no idea how her son got hold of the gun.
“I didn’t even know he had this. I don’t even think he had. He could have got it from somebody, but I don’t know where he got it from,” said Kendrick.
According to police, gunfire rang out after a basketball game at the high school.
The arrest report stated that Smith and the victim had a verbal exchange and agreed to a mutual fight. While the two were fighting, Smith brought out a gun.
Cellphone video captured multiple shots. The victim was shot five times, one of the rounds hitting his head while the other four hit his body, the report stated.
The victim, Devin Reeves, remains in critical condition.
On Tuesday, parents and community activists came together to call for an end to gun violence in their community following the shooting.
“We will not stand for this crap! Parents feel fearful of sending their kids to these schools because they’re being bullied or being shot,” said activist Dr. Robert Malone. “Even if they leave the school and travel home, parents have to wonder whether their child will make it home. How is it that a 14- or 15-year-old has a gun?”
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