HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Wednesday night, Harrisburg leaders participated in a town hall with more than 100 people in attendance, to discuss solutions to stop the violence.
Just last month, a threat was written on a bathroom wall at the John Harris Harrisburg High School campus about a potential shooting.
Not far from campus, some teens were involved in a shooting in the city and a homicide happened near the campus.
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“We need people to start stepping up and understanding. You know, nobody wants to get involved until it becomes their family member. Now, everybody’s crying out,” said Patricia Reitzi, student and community advocate.
Superintendent Eric Turman says these kinds of incidents are upsetting and concerning. But some in the crowd say school systems are part of the problem.
“When you look at the school system, all the school system is perpetuating is a school to prison pipeline, you talk about truancy, well what are you doing within the home?”
“You’re right. There is a pipeline and we have to do something now. So truancy, I need, I need, I need for it to be taken care of and for it to be taken care of in here,” said District Magestrial Judge Sonya McKnight.
Truancy was a big topic, that can lead kids into the court system and to make bad decisions. Turman knows it’s an issue.
“Every district should have a truancy elimination plan. And is that something from the Harrisburg School district? We will definitely be making sure that we tighten that up and work through that as we prepare for next school year,” Turman said.
District attorney Fran Chardo says they still need support from the community through tips.
But they’re also stepping in as spikes in crime happen.
“I’ve had our county detectives assist with investigations, paired them up with city detectives,” Chardo said.
“Everybody out here, each one teach one, can say something to somebody to cause a change and improve the condition,” said Pastor Eric Jackson with Heeding God’s Call.
Turman says security cameras will soon be installed throughout the district starting at the John Harris Campus.