HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico Schools held their second community forum to address youth gun violence and how the community needs healing.
The forum was held virtually on Wednesday night to aid in seeking peace. The event brought together students, administrators and experts in the field to talk about what they are seeing and what can be done.
Henrico Police Chief Eric English got candid about youth gun violence, saying they are seeing an uptick in juvenile violence, and that kids are playing with guns, leading to accidental shootings.
English said some of the violence and homicides taking place in the county are kids killing other kids.
One student that spoke at the forum described how his peers are desensitized from the shootings and are traumatized. Others talked about what may be contributing to students acting in such ways as poverty and mental health access.
The Henrico Police Chief said they are seeing kids get guns from them being left around homes and unlocked cars.
“Some of our kids aren’t afraid to use firearms,” English said.
The district has seen multiple guns being brought onto campuses recently, prompting parents on the call to ask about the possibility of metal detectors.
The district said they are looking into all options.
Experts throughout the forum dropped resources in place that may be able to help, such as free gun locks and medication bags available in Mental Health Services.
They have established an anonymous tip line for reporting threats, strange behavior, depression and more. They also started a mentorship program called Henrico Heroes for the Youth.
“If you see someone in need take them to where they can access resources and take their hand and walk alongside them,” they said.
Organizers hope the community will evaluate what their role is in helping solve this community problem.