DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Over the past two weeks, there have been two shootings involving children under the age of 13.
One shooting involved a 3-year-old who was playing outside after church. The other shooting involved a 12-year-old who was playing outside with his friends.
Mayor Mark Saliba and the Dothan City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Dennis Coe, gathered students from Dothan Preparatory Academy, Carver Academy, and Dothan High School, to hear what they have seen in the community and how they may be able to put a stop to this violence.
“So that we can show kids that it’s not always about being in the streets,” Junior at Dothan High School Saniyah Fletcher said. “It’s about getting your education and actually going somewhere.”
During the listening session, students discussed the need for community engagement and the importance it plays in a city.
“Some things are going on in the city and what we can do to make a change,” Senior at Dothan High School Quinton Fletcher said.
The students also voiced how they can bring the community together and keep them engaged with one another.
“To better this community,” seventh-grader at Dothan Preparatory Academy, Braylon Johnson said. “You have to try though.”
Mayor Saliba told the students to get involved in their schools and also in the community.
“Getting involved more inside of the community,” Senior at Dothan High School Eliezer Lee said. “Interacting with fellow people around the community, such as the police and firefighters.”
“What can we do to make their life better,” Mayor of Dothan Mark Saliba said.
The meeting was held at Dothan Preparatory Academy and the only people allowed to attend the meeting were the students and the mayor.
Students were able to voice their issues without the stress of outside opinions.
“So I wanted to be able to hear from youth,” Saliba said.
Mayor Saliba and the city of Dothan want to hear from the students in their school system, as well as from the community
“Kids, children, we actually have a lot to say because we have an opinion and hopefully our opinions can get stated,” Lee said.
Mayor Saliba and the city of Dothan want to hear from the students in their school system and also from the community
“Being heard and actually getting to state your opinion about what is going on around this community,” Johnson said.