YMCA serves as safe haven for SE Raleigh High students after classes canceled for 2 days

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Southeast Raleigh YMCA offers support to students
The Southeast Raleigh YMCA opened its doors on Wednesday to Southeast Raleigh High School students after classes were canceled for 2 days.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Southeast Raleigh YMCA opened its doors on Wednesday to Southeast Raleigh High School students as the school closed again after Monday's fatal stabbing.

"We want to continue to just to walk alongside and be of support in any way we can," executive director Dexter Hebert said.

The resource comes as Hebert talked about the challenges young people face in the community.

"We get a lot of data and statistics on the community that we're serving ... where about 29,000 people live in this census tract, and our life expectancy is 12 years less than other tracts in all of Wake County," Hebert said. "We have a lot of young people in our area. So, we have some economic challenges that exist for our community. What we're focused on is just disrupting all those inequities that exist."

Southeast Raleigh High School students, especially, face more criminal acts than other schools in North Carolina, according to the State Department of Public Instruction.

Data from the 2021-22 school year shows Southeast Raleigh High School has had 27 criminal acts per 1,000 students, compared with only 8.6 in Wake County Public Schools and 7.5 in North Carolina.

For Tilyn Muhammad, she said she supports the school that her son goes to.

"I believe it's a safe school," Muhammad said. "I think that it's more about parent involvement, talking with administrators, talking with your teachers, make sure you know what's going on at your child's school."

As Southeast Raleigh prepares to open back on Thursday, WCPSS said support is available for students in addition to a special forum that will be held on Monday, Dec. 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm.

"We ask that you partner with us in reassuring students that it is normal to feel anxious, stressed and tired after events such as these," Principal George E. Harden Jr. said. "The coming days will continue to be challenging, but I am thankful that we have each other and that we will continue to work through this together, as a family."