As school year winds down, SCS Superintendent and students talk violence

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said the district has some homework to do over the summer in order to better prevent school violence.

Hopson met with high school students from across the school district at the Hattiloo Theatre Wednesday.

He said he wanted to get students' take on school violence issues.

"We don't always have to go to an administrator," one student said.

Hopson told WREG he understands there are still some communication problems between students and staff.

He said students confirmed that most school violence issues begin somewhere outside of school but make their way into school hallways.

"I think it's very safe," said Manassas High School student Calvin Gill, Jr.

"Peer pressure is a huge thing. It can be positive and negative," said Middle College High School student Rashaun Nickleberry.

There were several fights caught on camera this school year, including at White Station High School and Raleigh-Egypt High School.

Hopson said Wednesday, he learned more about why he is seeing more fight videos surface.

"They said oftentimes, people will egg fights on, as it were, so that they can tape them and put them on Instagram and Facebook. I think one of the students said it's all about how many likes you can get," Hopson told WREG.

He said this news could play into future cell phone policies.

Several students said they do not believe their schools have a lack of security.

"There is more than enough," said one student, referencing School Resource Officers, Memphis police officers, and Shelby County Deputies.

Students said the focus should be preventing fights long before cell phone videos start to roll.

"They felt like guidance counselors are oftentimes focused on academic issues, and they don't have enough people trying to get to the social issues that they're dealing with," Hopson said.

The superintendent and other roundtable participants agreed many students deal with violence, poverty, and other issues at home.

"If you don't have proper guidance, love, and support that you need, then it's going to travel with you to school," said Overton High School student Daneka Norfleet.

This school year ends a week from Friday.

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