Students organize an initiative to help end violence - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Students organize an initiative to help end violence

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Students at Illinois Valley Central (IVC) High School are holding anti-violence events all week.

This coincides with a national movement that started back in 2001.

The goal is to focus on ways students and communities can prevent youth violence before it happens.

After the Parkland shooting school officials said they wanted to take a look at their own safety plans. That's when they included students.

One club at the high school suggested a whole week where they could focus on making school a safe environment for everyone.

Through their efforts, students are trying to reduce violence by reaching out to classmates to make sure everyone feels included.

"Students who are ostracized and students who often don't have anyone to connect with are often the ones that we find acting out and so what we thought it would be neat to have an opportunity for everyone to come up and talk to someone new, meet someone new," said teacher Kristin Rickey. 

Students have all kinds of activities planned, including an event were they made their cafeteria look like a family table. 

"They are aware that it's Anti-Violence Week, but other than that they didn't know the tables were going to be pushed together today, so it's kind of a big shocker for us," said student Grace Longstreth. 

Students in the HOPE Club, like Katie Cox, came up with the idea. 

"When we have everyone together they feel more united, more safe," said Cox. 

"No one really wants to feel alone, but no one really knows what to say or where to start so this is really kicking off for them on here's how you's what you say," added Rickey. 

Principal Kenton Bergman thinks it will have a big pay off

"First of all you have a lot more support for each each other up...a lot more than tear show outward love and care," stated Bergman. 

He also said the administration supported the HOPE Club looking to enact positive change. 

National Youth Violence Prevention Week is actually next week, but students will be on spring break then, which is why they're observing it this week.

Thursday students will host a potluck and pass out hot chocolate, using that to remind their peers to not let their anger heat them up. 

Students also had a "walk in" this morning at 10:20 a.m. to honor the Florida victims.

About 40 students attended. 

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