So. Fla. students take anti-violence pledge at rally
WATSON ISLAND, Fla. (WSVN) -- Hundreds of South Florida fifth grade students took a pledge against violence at a youth rally held at Jungle Island, Friday.
Student Mekhiya McLaren said the event was very informative. "[I learned] not to carry weapons and things like that," she said.
"Killing and shooting is a bad thing to do," echoed fellow fifth grader Rochelle Jean Baptist.
The students, who attend different elementary school across Miami, wore color-coded "I took the pledge" T-shirts at the rally, which was hosted by Miami Police officers and Miami-Dade Schools resource officers. "Morningside!" called out an officer during the rally, and students from Morningside Elementary Students, all wearing yellow T-shirts, responded by screaming loudly.
The event featured safety and anti-bullying skits, which gave students an opportunity to take center stage. A student wearing a turquoise blue T-shirt and sunglasses even rapped in front of the large crowd. Other students read poems. "I enjoyed the play that my school [did]," said Jorge Sanchez, who was wearing a green T-shirt.
Student Yomarys Hernandez said she feels better equipped at handling bullying at school after listening to the speakers. "Just leave it how it is and apologize," she said as she described a tactic for defusing a potentially violent situation.
Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa attended the event and spoke with students. "Hopefully, as they grow up through their high school years, they will remember their pledge and will not turn to violence," he said.
Student Fernando Aceituno attempted to summarize the most valuable lesson he learned at the rally. "That fighting, just keep it away from others," he said.
The annual rally is part of the Do the Right Thing program. Every student who participated received a small laminated copy of the pledge.
Students also signed a large billboard version of the declaration that will be sent to Florida Governor Rick Scott's office.
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