Local leaders meet to discuss curbing juvenile violence in Vermilion Parish

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A meeting was held Monday night to discuss deterring juvenile violence in Vermilion Parish, starting in Abbeville.

Stephen Menard, a community activist, said, “We love our children. We love our community and bring everybody together. What we’re doing right now is bringing our elected officials together to combine our resources, and we all work together to helping these children before there’s another death.”

Menard is passionate about not only finding ways to deter gun violence, but finding justice for unsolved murder victims.

Timothy Paul Green is the most recent unsolved murder victim in Abbeville. Green was killed due to gun violence on August 5.

“I don’t want a child to shoot another child or have a shooting on the street where a stray bullet is going to go and kill an innocent person,” added Menard.

Abbeville Police Chief William “Bill” Spearman says he’s hoping the community will see the need to have better communication between schools and police.

“I’m hoping that we will come up with solutions and involve parents, schools, and the police department in order to find these solutions and to bring a resolve to this gun violence to these fights, and different things that we’re having,” said Chief Spearman.

Kibbie Pillette, Vermilion Parish School Board Member for District F, explained, “We have to have a program that will reach out to the community and bring the troubled parents, the parents of troubled kids back to the school. We have to educate not only the child, but also the parent.”

Pillette believes importance on the workforce is what can also help deter violence… giving those students between the ages of 17 to 21 the ability to get a GED if they don’t have a high school diploma.

“What happens to a child when he’s put out the school he gets to be 19, 20 years old and he doesn’t have a high school education. Why doesn’t he apply for a job? There’s no jobs available. So you wonder why they’re on the street? Well, that is why,” said Pillette.

Pillette also believes the schools in Vermilion Parish need a program called “Community Based Schools.”

Officials say they will be focusing on increasing security and communication between parents, police, and students at J.H. Williams Middle School and Abbeville High School.

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