Students Demand DC Council Do More to Prevent Teen Deaths

Students at Anacostia High School are tired of watching their friends die.

Since the start of the calendar year, nearly a dozen kids between the ages of 11 and 17 have died due to violence in Washington.

At a school gathering Friday that was part rally, part vigil, students like Aliyah Clark demanded that the D.C. Council start taking action to curb violence.

"We deserve the respect, the safety that every other school, not just in Washington, D.C., that every other child has," Clark said. "I hate that we have to come to school in fear."

The event included a candle-lighting, as its attendees remembered recent victims like 15-year-old Thomas Johnson, who was shot to death near Nationals Park.

During the rally, which was attended by several city officials, the students called for a bolstering of the Safe Passage program, which helps students walk to and from school.

Students also wanted to keep school open later on Fridays, as well as get more mental health support from teachers and staff.

Kamryn Anthony, a senior at Anacostia High who helped organize the rally, said that she felt students needed to do something to honor their classmates' memory.

"It's a senseless killing and nobody's stopping it," Anthony said.

The students will bring their concerns directly to the city council next, where they're hoping they can inspire change.

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