Westminster Public Schools teamed up with Mapleton Public Schools on Thursday, November 10th, for a first-ever joint community conversation about the dangers facing children when they are not in school.
The zoom meeting was organized after three shootings in Adams County at after-hours parties. Students from both Mapleton and Westminster Public Schools were at the parties, along with young adults from other parts of the metro area.
“We have to have this hard conversation because every time this happens, it breaks my heart,” said Christine Martinez, a WPS Board of Education member.
Among the key takeaways from the meeting, parents must communicate with their children and ask questions about who they are with and where they are going.
“I reject the phrase wrong place at the wrong time,” said District Attorney Brian Mason from the 17th Judicial District. “Parents need to have parameters for their kids about how late they can stay up and when they are due home.” He added, ‘nothing good happens to a teenager between midnight and five a.m.”
Mason said three key issues keep him up at night:
Youth gun violence
Mental Illness among young people.
Law enforcement and school officials joined Mason, who also talked about their efforts to keep children safe.
The most compelling part of the conversation involved principals and high school students discussing the challenges of growing up in uncertain times. While students said they generally feel safe in school, they continually worry that something bad could happen.
“I think it’s definitely something we need to address and talk about,” said WHS Senior Ashley Allen.
“I think talking with parents one on one is very good,” said Carlos Taranga Duenas, a 9th grader at the high school. “Parents should not judge kids for what they are telling you.” He said the fact that kids are willing to talk with their parents is a good thing. A sign that they trust the adult in their life.
Above are selected clips from the meeting.
If you want to watch the meeting in its entirety, click here.