SCCPSS hopes student police academy helps fight youth gang violence

SCCPSS hopes student police academy helps fight youth gang violence

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - What was supposed to be a fun rivalry game between two high schools is being overshadowed by gang violence in the community.

Savannah-Chatham County Public School leaders are taking precautions inside and outside of school by canceling Beach High's homecoming festivities following the death of a student.

Gang violence is something that's drawing concern across the nation, but especially here in Savannah. Children, even those under the age of 15, sometimes end up making the wrong connections.

The latest victim of what is believed to be gang violence is 16-year-old Jaheim Morris.

Morris was a Beach High student and because of his death, district officials decided holding two big events between rival high schools wasn't the best idea.

While SCCPSS officials say they don't have gang issues in school, they do respond to it. They recognize the pressure students face daily from their peers and hope they can get to them before the streets do.

For that reason, the school district offers a student police academy program.

"One of the goals of that camp is to identify students that we can bring in who might be good role models and mentors to other students. So, hopefully, what we can do is impress upon them to take that back to their schools to show other students what good role models should be," said SCCPSS Police Department Capt. Ron Priest.

"We have the officers go in and teach a curriculum to those 7th graders, teaching them about the criminal justice system. They also go out on field trips, wget taken to the courthouse, we take them to other police departments because we want them to know the aspects of policing," said Operation Lt. Aundrea Leon, with the SCCPSS Police Department.

According to, most young people join for fun, protection, enjoyment, respect, money or because a friend is a part of a gang.

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