MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More than 900 students marched in protest at a local elementary school Wednesday morning in the name of peace.
“Stop the violence, enough is enough,” was the mantra chanted by hundreds of students this morning at Ojus Elementary in North Miami.
The peaceful march, down West Dixie Highway, was all part of Miami-Dade Youth Crime Watch’s Blue Ribbon week.
The nationwide campaign is an attempt to raise awareness against violence, unify schools and keep students safe. Stephanie Arce, a second grader at Ojus, and her mother participated in the march.
“A lot of people bully here but now were learning how to not bully, we have to be nice to each other,” said Stephanie.
The campaign began after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Youth Crime Watch advisor Nicole Bergert said the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut has “affected the kids quite a bit, a lot of them have written essays about all the incidents going around.”
Staff, parents, teachers and police want to make sure the ‘no violence’ mantra is embedded in kids’ minds at an early age.
In Miami-Dade schools alone, 99 students have been killed over the past 3 years, most of the deaths attributed to gun violence.
“It’s something they can carry on throughout their life,” said Bergert. “If you don’t educate them while they’re young than it might be too late, so it’s better that they learn now and then they can speak up and get help if they need it.”