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Finding solutions to stop violence: Forum to be held at Greater Johnstown Middle School

The Greater Johnstown School District is partnering with local leaders to find solutions to the violence. (WJAC)

JOHNSTOWN -- The Greater Johnstown School District is partnering with local leaders to find solutions to the violence.

Tuesday night, a forum is being held to stop the violence at the Greater Johnstown Middle School in Hornerstown.

This forum was actually publicized last week, following the death of 18-year-old Tavion Williamson.

But organizers say now it's even more important for everyone to come together after this weekend's shooting, killing 13-year-old Marquies Martin.

Police searching for bullets and searching for answers seems to be the new norm for many people living in the city of Johnstown.

"It's just getting awful. It's getting bad,” said Ricky Britt, Johnstown city councilman-elect. “It's a dark cloud over Johnstown right now, and that's for all the citizens of Johnstown."

Britt, along with the Rev. Reginald Floyd approached the greater Johnstown school district last week with a plan "to present solutions in moving forward in hopes of curbing the violence that we're all faced with, happening way too often in our community," said assistant superintendent Amy Arcurio.

Arcurio says the middle school, just a block or two away from the recent shootings, is an appropriate place for everyone to meet.

"I'm 71 years old and I can't remember this ever happening before,” Britt said. “They don't fist fight no more. It's the first thing to pull a gun out and take a man’s, a person's life."

Britt says the recent violence is disturbing and the community needs to get together to find a solution.

"What can we do? Besides ask these children, or come to some kind of consensus with these kids--find out what they want,” Britt said. “What do they need? What are they lacking? We need to get God back in their lives for one thing. That's for sure."

They're looking for input from the entire community. Britt says it's not a place for people to gripe or criticize, but an opportunity to find positive solutions.

“It's where we live at. It's our neighbors. It's everybody,” Britt said. “And we need everybody to join in and come there as grownups, mature people, and discuss what we think we can do to help solve this problem."

"The school district plays a role. City leaders play a role. City government plays a role. Our faith community plays a roll,” Arcurio said. “And those are the critical friends that are coming together to talk about what we offer in the way of solutions in moving this city forward."

The forum is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Greater Johnstown Middle School, located at 220 Messenger Street.

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