April 17, 1998

Symposium seeks answers to community’s violence problem

A panel of high school students, community leaders and violence prevention experts will gather at Maplewood High School April 22-23 to focus on stopping the spread of violence in the community.

The Violence Prevention Symposium is sponsored by A Better Nashville, an injury prevention outreach program of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital; the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and the Davidson County Pediatrics Society.

At a time when the Nashville area is experiencing a high number of homicides, the Violence Prevention Symposium is designed to educate participants about alternatives to the violence that youngsters face at school, in the media and in their own communities.

The event is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include Dr. William O. Cooper, assistant professor of Pediatrics; Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Shookhoff; James Threalkill, special assistant to Mayor Phil Bredesen; Juanita Veasy, executive director of the Black Children's Institute of Tennessee; and Maplewood and Pearl Cohn high school students.

A Violence Prevention Panel Discussion will be held from 7 a.m.-8:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 22, in the Maplewood auditorium, and will be viewed by the junior and senior classes at the high school. A videotape of the discussion will be shown to the freshman and sophomore classes from 7 a.m.-8:30 a.m., Thursday, April 23.

Students, teachers, counselors and community leaders also will break into groups for work sessions led by representatives of the non-profit Hands Without Guns campaign. These workshops will be conducted from 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. and noon-1 p.m. each day of the symposium.

Lunch each day will be provided by Maplewood's Panther Inn, a dining service run by the school's culinary arts students.

Students from Maplewood and the Nashville School of the Arts will also collaborate on a violence prevention art project that Lamar Advertising will display on a local billboard.

Reservations are requested by April 17. For more information or to register, call Gloria Respress-Churchwell, program director for A Better Nashville, at 373-5288.