Philly students' research on gun violence interrupted by gun scare

The lockdown at Duckrey Elementary came as some fifth graders worked on their gun violence project.

Mike DeNardo
June 09, 2018 - 10:00 pm
Duckrey Elementary Gun Violence Project

Mike DeNardo | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Call it a cruel irony. A gun scare last week at a North Philadelphia school interrupted the research some fifth-graders were doing on gun violence.  

The lockdown at Duckrey Elementary came as Vanessa Perez and her classmates worked on their gun violence project.
     
"Yeah, I was a little frightened," Perez said. "Because I didn't really know what was going on at the moment."
      
Police searched classrooms for a gun reported missing, but found none. 
      
"Of course, it's a scary thing," said fifth grade teacher Sara Watts. "But two days later they were able to raise their voices and have their voices elevated in this amazing project that they worked so hard on."
      
The students presented their survey results at the National Liberty Museum's Young Heroes Outreach Program.
      
The project was a school-wide gun violence survey. Fifth-grader Kyashia Oliver read the response of one first-grader.
     
"Instead of finding my phone, I found a gun.," Oliver read. "I looked at it for like two minutes. Then I accidentally shot it out the window."
       
Eighty-seven percent of fifth graders reported that their lives had been affected by gun violence.
       
Principal David Cohen looked at the trifold poster containing the survey results. He said many students didn't avail themselves of counselors brought in the day after the lockdown.
    
"I was glad that many weren't hurt, but shocked that it didn't hit home as much," Cohen said. "And when you look at this chart here it's clear of kind of why."