Jason Peterson received his diploma last night from Indianapolis’ Broad Ripple High School, but
the 18-year-old is recovering from a gunshot wound he suffered last month that left him paralyzed from the neck down, says the Indianapolis Star. He was the sixth Indianapolis public school student to fall victim to gun violence this school year. Three other Broad Ripple students were killed.
Experts and school officials say the shootings illuminate a growing social and public health dilemma that will take a communitywide approach to stop. “We must all step up to the plate and stop this violence,” School Board Vice President Kelly Bentley told graduates and their families.
Through May 11, eight of the 30 homicides involving guns in Indianapolis’ Marion County involved people age 21 or younger; five of the victims were younger than 19.
“Where is the outrage that our children are dying?” said Issac E. Randolph Jr., an Indianapolis firefighter who helped found the St. Florian Center, an inner-city program for at-risk youths. The nonprofit Indiana Partnership To Prevent Firearm Violence is trying to get the message out. The 3-year-old group collects and tracks data, including the annual number of gun-related deaths and injuries, in an effort to raise public awareness and spur action.