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Educator, students go door-to-door to end gun violence in Linden area

A team from Hamilton STEM Academy went door-to-door in their Linden neighborhood, asking neighbors to place anti-violence signs in their front yards. (WSYX/WTTE)

A team from Hamilton STEM Academy went door-to-door in their Linden neighborhood, asking neighbors to place anti-violence signs in their front yards.

Educators and students want to stop the gun violence in that area.

The twelve-year-old student helping to lead the charge often has to run inside when gunshots ring out. It is something he doesn't want for himself or his classmates.

"You don't know if someone in your life could be effected by it," said Jeremiah Stewart.

Stewart and retired school counselor Sandra Waters-Holly were busy passing out "STASI" signs. The signs explain certain steps, like apologizing or talking it out, that can stop gun violence.

"When you shoot someone, it effects more than just one life. It can effect up to 25 different lives in that one moment," said Stewart.

Their anti-gun violence message is to be calm and think before you act. It's an important reminder that warmer weather traditionally means a spike in violence.

"It is too late to think after you shoot. It is too late to say ‘I'm sorry’," said Waters-Holly, who was a counselor at Hamilton STEM for more than 30 years.

For the educator, it's a mission to stop the heartbreak.

"Kids that are 11, 12 and 13 years old have gone through things adults never have to go through," she said. "It's heartbreaking. Some kids have already been shot. Some kids have lost both parents."

The City of Columbus helped make the signs possible. Linden's liaison said gun violence is one of the biggest issues on these streets.

"It shouldn't be a norm to kids at such a young age," said liaison Chris Suel, who went door-to-door with the group.

Neighbors often hear the shots.

"You don't know whether to run, or whether to move or just stay where you are. It's awful," said Martha A. Smith, who has lived in the Linden area for more than 50 years.

Many welcome the anti-violence signs.

"I drove a school bus, so I know the violence over here," said longtime Linden resident Betty Simmons-Tally. "So, we want the violence to stop it is time for it to stop."

The group hopes to get more funding to continue their mission to end gun violence.

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