MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Community leaders lead by Miami-Dade Schools’ Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and police chiefs made a plea on Tuesday, urging everyone to “say something” if they had “seen something” that could be a crime or could lead to a crime.
And one activist, the Rev. Jerome Starling, said, “Don’t wait until the bullet enters your door to speak up and to say something. You have the opportunity today to say something. You have to say something because you don’t want your child to be next.”
Carvalho said, “Enough is enough. Enough tears, enough guns and enough violence.”
Carvalho told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “I am tired. I am heartbroken. It’s time for the community to show up and step up.”
“It seems like a vicious cycle is repeating itself and in repetition it seems like we are losing a part of our soul, one child at a time,” he said. “There is no way of battling or winning this war without sensitizing a community that I fear has become desensitized and calloused to the violence before us.”
Carvalho still can’t believe the shooting that happened at The Spot on Sunday.
“I was horrified beyond comprehension that 15 people were shot just a couple of nights ago. For us to win, we need this community to be sensitive and be the eyes and ears on behalf of children,” he said.
“For the sake of the children, have the courage to break the code of silence,” he said. “It must be a community effort.”
Carvalho, the police chiefs and community leaders are speaking out after two students came forward last Wednesday at Brownsville Middle School in Northwest Miami-Dade. The students told the school’s police officers that they had seen four other students handling two loaded, semi-automatic pistols. The four students have all been charged with possessing a loaded weapon on school grounds.
Those students were suspended for 10 school days and could be expelled when the Miami-Dade School Board meets on October 7th. There is a recommendation that they all be placed into an alternative program.
Earlier this year, Miami-Dade became the first and only school district in the nation to partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and adopt the campaign: “See Something, Say Something.”
“We now need the public more than ever to help make the community safe,” said Joe Trias, a deputy special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “It’s a partnership that can deter street crime and is a connection that addresses local crime.”
Carvalho spoke at the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School as dozens of students stood beyond him.
Tissy McMillian, a mother of six children including one girl who attends Brownsville Middle School, said the initiative makes sense.
“Kids get out there and they get into a lot of things,” said McMillian. “They see something and they often don’t tell. The reason they don’t tell is because they are afraid. That is not good because anything could happen. I’m concerned because my daughter goes to Brownsville Middle School.”
Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson said, “Anytime children are threatened with firearms, it’s a relative situation for all of us. We need people to get involved. We need people to say something.”
School Board Vice Chairman Lawrence Feldman looked at the students at the news conference and said, “We are talking about people with a life to live. They don’t want to go down. They don’t want to be afraid to go to school.”
Anyone who wants to “say something” about a crime or provide information that could prevent a crime should call a Miami-Dade Schools Police hotline, (305) 995-COPS (2677). You can remain anonymous.
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