After student is killed, a look at gang prevention at Clayton Co. schools

Clayton County takes gang prevention to schools

The 16-year-old who turned himself in for allegedly killing a classmate was denied bail during his first court appearance.

Stanley Dixon is charged with murder in the shooting death of Charles Drew High School football player Cedric Clark. Clark was found dead from a gunshot wound near the side of a home in Jonesboro on Nov. 2.

On Wednesday, Dixon's dad turned him in to Clayton County Sheriff's Office.

Police said it's believed that the shooting was gang-related.

PHOTOS: High school football player shoot, killed

All month, Clayton County school leaders are taking a strong message to every high school in the county: stay out of gangs.

For three weeks in November, every high school junior and senior will attend a mandatory assembly. There, they will hear from the district's school police chief, along with representatives from the Clayton DA's office, solicitor's office and juvenile court. The program was already months in the works, but following at least two gang-related student deaths in recent weeks, Clayton Police Chief Thomas Trawick says this is imperative.

"It's been devastating for the district," he told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander after a recent assembly at Mundy's Mill High School.

"It's heartbreaking. We're losing our young people at alarming numbers and it has to stop."

Officials say right now, gang members in schools are in the minority. But the goal of the assemblies is to discourage students from joining, and count of the upperclassmen to help spread the message.

"For me, I think it's a little bit more crucial because I have a little brother," said Mundy's Mill senior and Student Government Association president Jasmine Cambridge. "He's 10, and he's coming up to middle school next year. I'm just afraid of what he'll have to deal with."

During an address to the school, Principal Dr. William Greene called the juniors and seniors "leaders" in the school. He acknowledged almost certain gang presence in most high schools, but said it's not too late to make an impact.

"Our desire would be to help students find their way out of gangs, for those that are [members]," he said.

After this round of assemblies, Clayton County school leaders will move the program into the county's middle schools, and eventually target even younger students. Many experts say gangs begin recruiting children as early as third grade.

"In my opinion, it's never too late," Chief Trawick said.

"I think if you can save one individual, you've been successful. So I'll never, ever give up on our young people, because no one gave up on me. I owe that to them."

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