Community stands outside a school to stop violence

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Children getting into fights, causing trouble and even jumping parents while they walk their kids home from school.

That's according to those who live around Wooddale Middle.

In a city with far too many schools with too many issues with violence, a group of activists, parents and police are finding a solution that's working.

A group of children from Anna Julia Cooper Educational Services stood on a street corner across from the school Thursday hoping to set an example for their peers.

All while cop cars patrolled, and parents, neighbors and community activists gathered around the building hoping to deter violence happening after school.

"A lot of kids be fighting over here in this area. The high schoolers come up here and fight," said a Wooddale High School student waiting to pick up his little cousin at the middle school.

He and others told us some kids are even jumping parents as they walk their children home.

In fact, WREG talked to a mother who said it happened to her.

"I was attacked. Me and my nieces by some children. They hit me," she said. "I'm worried. It shouldn't be that way."

Community activist Stevie Moore with F.F.U.N heard about the problems last month and went to check it out.

"When I got about three blocks up, 40 to 50 kids fighting, and I noticed in the middle of the crowd was a young girl just getting beat," he said.

Moore said he got hit and kicked trying to break up the fight.

"About 15 to 20 minutes just trying to break this crowd up," he said.

The next day, he got police and the 901 Bloc Squad, a group working to curb youth and gang violence, to patrol and talk to kids.

Word spread, parents and other community members are now on the case.

WREG's cameras were rolling when a group of kids came close to fighting.

Police immediately broke it up though, and when one kid came back still angry, we saw some adults talk to him and help him resolve the issues peacefully.

"The students feel safer. It makes me feel safer that I can walk with my little cousin and nothing can happen, because there's a lot of police officers here," said the Wooddale High student.

The group said they'll stand out here and work with the children as long as it takes.

They hope to inspire other neighborhoods across the city to do the same.

Moore said the group needs more parents to come stand outside the school to help.

If you'd like to help, email Moore at or call him at 901-527-3149.

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