Community meeting on juvenile violence set for March 8

Published 3:51 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

Vicksburg officials will hold a 6 p.m. community meeting on March 8 at the Ardis T. Williams Sr. Auditorium to get advice from the public on developing a program to combat juvenile violence in the city.

On Feb. 6, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. appointed a 10-member youth violence prevention committee to develop a comprehensive program to get the problem under control. He said the meeting will allow residents the opportunity to offer suggestions to the committee for the program.

“There were so many people calling me and wanting to be on the committee and the committee had already been formalized, so I’m just going to allow them to have an open mic and give input because a lot of them had some great (ideas),” he said. “Then we’re going to wrap it up and start (developing a plan). I think we’re going to have a product.”

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Flaggs formed the committee in the wake of the Jan. 30 shooting death of a 13-year-old boy, Carleone Woodland.

“I have looked at the youth violence over the last couple of weeks and I have concluded that it is in our best interest to create an ad hoc committee to look at where we are and create a pathway to the future for our young people,” Flaggs said when he named the committee. “Punishment is not an end-all; we have to do more than that. We have to create a collaboration between all the entities that have to do with our youth.”

He charged the committee to create a comprehensive strategy to combat juvenile violence by using a multi-prong approach of education, prevention, intervention, parental coaching, family counseling and other relevant factors, and developing a youth program comprised of juveniles recommended by the Warren County Youth Court and the Vicksburg Warren School District.

The committee will also develop a comprehensive plan addressing the mental, psychological and behavioral safety and well-being of the city’s youth and maintain a database to monitor chronic absenteeism aimed at decreasing the dropout rate in Vicksburg.

Flaggs also said he wanted to consider using the now-vacant Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce building on Mission 66. He said Monday city officials were meeting with the Chamber of Commerce and Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Pablo Diaz about leasing the building.

He said a lease would be presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its March 6 meeting.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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