Dozens of stakeholder and community leaders, joined Jesse Van Lew and Save Mount Vernon at the Board of Education to call for resignation of Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton, members of the school board and every other administrator who knew of the beef brewing that led to death of Kayla Green, but did nothing to prevent it. The result what wasn’t handled in school, spilled violently into the streets. The group met outside the Mount Vernon BOE before the Tuesday, April 19th School Board Meeting.
Shortly afterwards inside during the public speaking portion of the school board meeting, several others spoke, including former Mayor Richard Thomas who is one of the spokespersons of the Kayla’s family. Thomas read a statement from the family. Jesse Van Lew, Greg Bonaparte, Coach Dwayne Murray, Ms. Juanita Thomas and several others expressed their disapproval of the lack of prevention despite all the emails that went to the entire school board, the superintendent and other administrators about the issues. Marc Stuckey opted to scrap his prepared comments and decided to use his time as a moment of silence for Kayla.
Then there was one speaker, Antoinette King who left almost everyone choked up when she spoke about her daughter and others on the cheer team receiving death threats and how her daughter is are scared to go back to school. Mrs. King – a lifelong resident of Mount Vernon, a former student and a former employee of the school district – told the board about how 28 years ago when she was a freshman, her family member was stabbed to death in the halls of Mount Vernon High School and now her daughter who is a freshman has now seen her peers stabbed and killed.
There are no words I can formulate to describe this mother’s pain as she spoke about senseless violence then and now, so I simply share the video for you to watch for yourself.
While I will do a write-up on the press conference and school board meeting, I felt this needed to be a standalone article. This mother’s words sum up what far too many mothers are feeling. Like Marvin sang 50-plus years ago, “Mother, Mother, there far too many or you crying,”
I share this because it needs to be seen, it needs to go viral and it needs to be a call to action to for everyone watching to get up, get out and do something to help end the senseless violence that plaques our city. That plaques the streets of Mount Vernon as it does in too many other urban cities in this country. This needs everyone of you reading this and who watched that video to share it. Sitting back and complaining and doing nothing to change the problem is no longer an option. This needs to be followed by action by all of us. There’s a war going on outside nobody’s safe from. There is a war going on in the schools for the very souls of our youth, that is killing them. We are losing our most valuable resource, our youth!
We need to check our egos at the door, stop the backstabbing, finger pointing, complaining and blaming. Stop the political decapitation of and by our elected officials, we need to come together, or the fight is already lost. We as adults need to display better conflict resolution amongst ourselves, if we expect the youth to be able to. Where do you think they learn it? If the youth are out of control, it is us failing them, not the other way around and we need to get real about that and wake up!
“All she wanted to do is cheer and she feels bad that someone has lost their life over the fact that no one got a chance to help these kids resolve their issues. We as adults must take accountability and we have to do better. Not another child needs to die, and I am not sending my child back so if you want to call anybody you can until I find better means if you choose not to use a remote option, I have to ensure my child lives. I am her lawyer, and her father is her lawyer, so I ask that you hear my plea and my cry on this evening”
As much as I wanted to reach out to Mrs. King, I did not want to bother her, but when I got home and watched the video again and again, I wanted her to know I heard her pleas, I heard her cries, and I will use my platform to make sure everyone else with a pulse hears you too.