Youth council in Burke County speaks out after two teens killed

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Two teenagers were shot and killed in two separate shootings in Burke County. City leaders and teens are working together to keep their community safer.

On Friday, city leaders filled city hall to say they would be cracking down and putting curfews in place for teens after those two shootings.

Tonight youth leaders took a step of their own. The Mayor's Youth Council in Waynesboro started a couple of years ago to give students a voice.

"Put the guns down, come together, leave the guns alone," said attendees.

After two shootings involving teens, the community is looking to them for answers.

"It brought everyone to this scenario. It opened our eyes to a lot," said Jackson Parham, a youth council member.

It hit close to home for Jackson Parham. He was T'Rique McCollough's cousin.

"Every time we got with each other it was always a joke. It was something to laugh at. It was happy memories," said Parham.

He and his fellow council members told Mayor Carswell the city needs to meet students where they are in neighborhoods like Briarwood.

"Actually going out to these people, saying we are here and we can help if you allow us," said Keyanna Stephens, a youth council member.

The council offered ideas from mobile barbershops to Friday night basketball to keep local youth away from trouble.

These teens say they feel a responsibility to play a role in this too after what has happened.

"I feel like I could be one of those people that can help others and if I can change one life, then I'm doing something great for my community and that life can change another," said Stephens.

Another good idea from these kids is they suggested the mayors across Burke County come together and form a partnership to keep resources from being spread thin.