crusade against violence
Violence sees no age.
Sometimes teenagers forget that, said Osbourn High School freshman Adrianna
Teens can be victims, but they can also take steps to prevent violence
in their homes and communities, said Mendez, a member of the Prince William
Youth Advisory Council.
As co-coordinator of Osbourn’s Turn Off the Violence campaign, Mendez
will ask classmates to realize they can make a difference when she asks
for their pledge next month.
The message is an important one, she said.
“It’s such a big deal because I don’t think people our age …
are aware of what’s going on out there with violence and drugs,” she
Mendez is hoping at least 800 of the school’s 1,730 students will sign
pledge cards promising to turn off the violence in their homes and throughout
Mendez is not alone in the campaign.
Adults and students throughout Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas
Park will participate in events to raise awareness for April’s Turn Off
the Violence Month.
“Youth are concerned about youth violence,” said Susan Robinson,
director of the Prince William Office on Youth, which oversees the advisory
At Stonewall Jackson High School, students will participate in Turn
Off the Violence activities the week of their prom, said Jessica Lee, a
junior and co-coordinator of the school’s campaign.
Grades will compete against each other to see who can amass the most
pledges, Lee said. Poster and essay contests also are planned.
“It’s kind of a way to encourage people instead of resorting to
violence, to have a more positive way to resolve their conflicts,”
Lee said of the awareness campaign.
Local school divisions already have measures in place to prevent violence,
or to nip it in the bud.
Prince William County Schools has a tip line for students, staffers
or parents to anonymously report drugs, weapons or violence in the schools.
Callers record messages on the voice mail system, which is checked twice
The anonymous aspect of the tip line appeals to some students, said
Clarice Torian, director of student services for the county schools.
“A lot of times students are reluctant to approach an administrator
because they want to remain anonymous,” Torian said.
Although the school system receives only a dozen or so calls each year,
the tip line serves as another tool for violence prevention, said Donald
Mercer, director of risk management and security for the county schools.
Last year, the system received 13 calls, with six about drugs and several
others about violence and threats.
“They’re all followed up,” Mercer said. Although, “Some
of them are pretty ambiguous.”
If a caller is in an emergency situation, that person should immediately
call police, he said. If information left on the tip line is about something
criminal in nature, officials will notify police, he said.
The tip line phone number is (703) 791-2821 and is available in the
student handbook, the student code of behavior and throughout Prince William
· Contact Tiffany Schwab at [email protected]