Preschool hangs banner as a message against gun violence

Preschool hangs banners as a message against violence
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - After hearing continued gunshots and having four lockdowns in the last 12 months, one preschool is taking a stand against violence.

"We just started hearing these rounds of gunfire," Perea Preschool principal Alicia Norman said.

Norman is talking about a November 30 incident where she was in the parking lot talking with another teacher.

"They were shooting at each other behind us and we dropped to the ground. We waited until it was over, crawled on the ground, got into the building and put everybody on lockdown," Norman said.

A total of 178 students were inside the preschool at the time of the gunshots.

The school went under four lockdowns in 12 months, resulting from shootings on January 12, November 17, November 30 and September 23.

Every one sticks in Norman's mind and she said that's why she and the Church Health Center are taking a stand.

In the middle of the pouring rain, members from the Church Health Center as well as teachers at the school hung a banner that said "Don't shoot...stray bullets kill."

It's a message she said is to the criminals in the neighborhood.

"It's not OK. To be honest, this sign is really aimed at a handful of people," Church Health Center CEO Scott Morris said. "But, I believe that these people who might want to kill each other do not want to kill our children."

The sign hangs on a fence that the City of Memphis put up to try and stop the bullets from flying.

"It's becoming too much of a norm and we didn't want it to be our new norm. So we felt it necessary to make a statement to this community, to all of Memphis, that gun violence on school property, library property, community center property will not be tolerated," Morris said.

Now, working with Memphis Police and the nearby community center, they are hoping to reduce gunshots and continue to protect children.

"I would fight this same fight for my children in a different community and I think that these families and these children deserve to live and reside and to go to school in a neighborhood with peace," Morris said.

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