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Students receive encouragement after recent violence involving young people

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 5, 2015) - Students at Tindley Preparatory Academy were met with applause and cheers as they walked into school early Monday morning. Community leads, city officials and role models formed a receiving line to greet the students at the front entrance. It was quite the surprise for sleepy eyed students just beginning their week.

"What we’ve talked about is a key component in prevention, prevention of crime in my opinion if you catch kids in middle school right before they get into high school, they’ll listen to you they really want to have a positive impact in their community," said Josh J. Minkler, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler joined Marion County Juvenile Magistrate Judge Geoffrey Gaither to welcome the kids. The rally was prompted by recent incidents where several young kids lost their lives due to senseless gun violence. Last month, 10-year-old DeShaun Swanson was killed in a drive-by shooting. A 2-year-old boy was also injured in a drive-by shooting that same day. On Sunday night, two teenage girls were shot and killed in a car on the city's west side.

"What we want to do is recognize that our young people are being used as a tool in the game they’ll never recover from, but we don’t want them to get a taste of this drug money and the drug game to the point where they can’t see education as a way out. This is the way out," IMPD Chief Rick Hite said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has been working with the Tindley students. Last year they signed a pledge, agreeing not to touch a gun and tell an adult if they see a one. There are also plants to start a teen court at the school to teach kids about the legal system and work on problem solving skills.

"Coming from the community that I come from, I think it’s very important because we don’t really have a lot of inspiring people out there, so the people that are here doing this for us -- I think it’s amazing," said Tindley Preparatory Academy student Brennan Kitc.

After all the students were greeted, everyone went inside the gymnasium for an assembly. Similar rallies are planned at John Marshall High School and Avondale Meadows Academy within the next month.