Southeast Raleigh activists call for partnership between school, community and home after tragedy

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Southeast Raleigh activists talk ways to address violence in schools
Southeast Raleigh community leaders say they believe the tragedy that struck last Monday could have been prevented.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Southeast Raleigh activists said they believe that the tragedy that struck last Monday could have been prevented. It's something they believe everyone should feel responsible for.

"I feel like the blood is definitely on my hands and the blood is definitely on the residents of Raleigh's hands," said Kerwin Pittman.

Pittman once walked the halls as a student at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School. He has now shifted his focus to the youth following the stabbing death of a student at the school last Monday.

He was newly appointed to Gov. Roy Cooper's violence prevention advisory board that approaches violence by addressing its root cause.

"Mental health support, food, shelter, adequate clothing," he said. "The mother or the parent in the home may be going through some issues that could trickle down to the kid, and so resources."

Pittman's words come one day after faith and city leaders marched to the school calling for prayer and peace.

It's something that has united this community, but Letha Muhammad, mother of a senior attending the school said she needs more.

"Last week even shows the greater need for partnership between school, community and home. It would be egregious of me to think the school can do it all by themselves, but we can do it in partnership together," she said.

Muhammad also runs Education Justice Alliance, an organization aimed at finding ways to keep kids from being funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline. She believes what's needed is finding ways to resolve the issue.

"What would it look like to create a culture within the schools where adults are seen as trust because they are building healthy relationships," she said.

Community members in southeast Raleigh came together to raise concerns and discuss ways to make schools safer and curb violence.

Muhammad had plans to attend Monday night's community forum and hopes school leaders have answers about what happened and why between students.

"Clarity around what happened. There's so many rumors swirling. Hard to know what's true and fact," Muhammad said. "Then I would like an opportunity to voice what I hope to see in the school,"

District 4 School Board Tara Waters represents the district and released this statement to ABC11:

"The loss of young life is a pain hard to capture in words. My prayers continue still for all who grieve. In this time of tragedy, each of us has the opportunity to support the Southeast Raleigh Magnet HS family. That support comes from community partnerships and ongoing advocacy. We must show students and educators that they are not alone but a driver for us to unite and heal."