Lincoln seventh graders take on discussion of racism …
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Lincoln seventh graders are taking on a tough, but important topic. They’re talking police brutality and racism with the Lincoln Police Department.
It’s centered around the book Ghost Boys. It’s fiction, but the story it tells is real. Young black kids with fake guns, being fatally wounded by police.
“Stories like Tamir Rice, Malcolm Brown, Emmitt Till,” Marcus Winne, Schoo Middle School sixth-grader said.
Marcus Winne is one of the students who just finished reading the book. It’s about a bullied 12-year-old named Jerome. He’s given a BB gun to ward off the bullies, but when someone sees him with the gun in the park and calls the police, Jerome is fatally shot by an officer.
Lincoln Police Officer Luke Bonkiewicz and former police captain, now LPS HR specialist, Genelle Moore discussed the book with the students, sharing how they’ve both been in the shoes of Jerome.
“I was walking home from school and from behind me I hear ‘hey chocolate bar, hey Snicker’s bar'” Moore said.
She explained how she was followed, derogatory phrases yelled at her all the way home until she reached her breaking point and got into a fight with the boy.
“My situation ended well,” Moore said. “I went and told my mom and while some part of her maybe thought he deserved it if he walked all that way, but another part of her was probably thinking that I could have been seriously hurt.”
Bonkiewicz, too, was bullied.
“When Jerome talked about hating school and not wanting to go, I remember not wanting to go to school,” he said. “When Jerome talks about hiding in the bathroom eating lunch, I remember hiding in the library.”
Both said they’ve also walked in the shoes of the police officer in the story.
Officer Bonkiewicz said he was called to what sounded like a robbery. Dispatch said there were three men in hoodies, with guns going around the side of a house. When he pulled up the suspects dropped the guns. It turned out there were kids.
“I think about that all the time,” Bonkiewicz said. “I think what if they hadn’t dropped the guns what would have happened. Would I be the one on the news, would those kids be alive.”
The take-away is that both also said it’s on everyone to work toward a solution. Lincoln Police officers do so by getting out in the community, by trying to treat everyone they come in contact with like family. They said citizens can do that my remember police are people too.
“We need to give everyone a fighting chance in situations like that so everyone can walk out alive,” Moore said.
Moore had the students make a promise on their way out the door.
Promise to be better.
To do better.
To have compassion and be open-minded.
A promise, Winne hopes everyone takes to heart.
“Because maybe they’ll grow up and be cops and if they were in that situation they won’t kill.”
Published at Fri, 31 Jan 2020 15:59:27 +0000