CHICAGO (CBS) — Students who witnessed a violent after school shooting on Monday staged a call to action in the streets of Chatham.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports the students marched Friday, saying it is time for the community to help guarantee a safe passage to school.

Students gathered outside their school with homemade signs, demanding peace, and marched through the streets of Chatham.

“What I need you all to do is start exercising that power,” said Principal Tony “Qadir” Lyons.

“We understand our youth has the power,” said one student marching.

Led by their principal, over 100 students from Chatham Academy stepped forward with a call to action, encouraging other students to be on guard before and after school, look for potential problems, help guarantee a safer passage to class, and go beyond the routes provided by CPS.

“We need the community to come out of their houses,” said Lyons. “It’s not the police responsibility, it’s our responsibility.”

The march was a response to an after school shooting Monday where a gunman jumped from a passing car and fired shots into a crowd, injuring three students. Two of them, bleeding, were pulled by classmates back inside.

“Everybody is traumatized, scared to come back to school. They felt it ain’t safe,” said Senior Cornell Puckett.

More and more teenage victims and witnesses of violence are demanding more accountability from the world around them.

“I do believe we need to take matters into our own hands to make this community better,” said Alysha Barber, a senior.

“We’ve been in the community 40 plus years. The government can’t do everything, it has to be the community,” stated Eloise Coleman, a Chatham resident.

“People can actually see our feelings was hurt. Actions speak louder than words,” said Senior Gerlisa Orr, saying she feels powerful marching today. “Usually kids don’t get the chance to do this.”

The students injured Monday have all been released from the hospital. Chicago Police say none of them have any history with police.

No arrests have been made in relation to the shooting incident.

Chatham is part of the Youth Connection Charter Schools. Administrators say the injured students will return to a different campus within the system to help them cope with the traumatic situation.


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Vince Gerasole