Students cope with death of classmate

June 15, 2009 9:50:06 AM PDT
Students at a South Side high school are mourning the death of a classmate. Eighteen-year old Albert Vaughn was killed over the weekend.

Extra security officers and crisis counselors were on hand Monday at Percy Julian High School. This is not the first time Julian students have coped with the death of a classmate.

Albert Vaughn was not well known at Julian. He was a junior that had only transferred to the school about six months ago.

Still, students reacted to his death Monday, most of them saying that they are upset that this could have happened to their own yet again. Students at Julian High School arrived to increased security as they received the news that one of them had been killed over the weekend.

"It's starting all over again," said Lindsey Snyder, senior.

"It was ridiculous. When I heard about it, it saddened me for a minute, but it's just -- you get tired of it," said Megan Mayvell, junior.

Vaughn was at a birthday party that was breaking up. He is one of 23 CPS students killed by violent crime this school year.

Julian was Blair Holt's school as well. He was shot on a bus last year. His father was present as part of the crisis team at Julian Monday.

"We're out here in the trenches with them, hopefully making sure that they are safe and that they can be reassured that they can come to school and just be concerned about getting a good education," said Ronald Holt, Blair Holt's father.

"We have to do something. Police can only do so much. You can't expect the mayor, the police, even the board of security to do everything. It has to start with us," said Dr. Darreyl Young, principal.

CPS interfaith director Rev. Reynaldo Keys says the most important thing students in city schools need to learn and hear is that there are other ways to resolve conflict.

"There's a better way to resolve conflict. Violence is not the answer to resolving the conflict between you and a classmate or community member," said Rev. Keys.

Reverend Gregory Daniels proposes opening churches daily this summer to offer teens mentoring and job training.

"We have churches on every corner and in every community, and if we would open those churches up and staff them with volunteers, from June through September, I think that we would be able to save lives," Rev. Daniels said.

Tio Hardiman is the director of emergency services for CeaseFire. He says showing teens other way to resolve conflict works. CeaseFire is now working with some specific Chicago Public Schools to prevent future conflict.

"We're going to provide a conflict resolution training for the youth, some role playing and train the young men on how to de-escalate violence before it escalates to the higher level. We'll train them what to look for when it comes down to conflicts, can you really believe a person when they say it's over with?" said Hardiman.

Julian is among the schools CeaseFire plans to work with. It was only three days ago that Julian High School held a fundraiser to get the money to build a memorial to Blair Hope.

As for the investigation regarding the death of Albert Vaughn, police have charged 22-year-old Nathaniel Tucker with murder.

Sunday night, a man was shot and wounded near a memorial to Vaughn. It happened near 70th and Throop.

The victim is said to be a man in his 20s. He was shot in the wrist and was taken to Holy Cross Hospital. His injuries are not life threatening.

It is not clear if the shooting is connected with Vaughn's death.


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