Richmond schools get $6.5M grant to reduce crime, violence

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Millions of dollars will be pumping into Richmond schools and the community to help kids stay out of trouble. It's all thanks to a grant Virginia Commonwealth University received from the federal government.

We're talking about a $6.5 million grant. The City of Richmond is targeting three middle schools. But really, this is an effort to involve the community, the schools and families in the entire city.

It's a scene that parents say happens all too often -- police outside of schools in Richmond because of fights. It's those type of problems, both in and out of school, that leaders are trying to reduce.

Parents like Antonio Smith are excited about. "If they got the money for it, hey go for it."

Right now, school leaders are targeting three middle schools: Thompson, Elkhardt and Bouschall. But with the community aspect, school leaders say parents from other schools can get involved.

"I feel like it starts at home because when I was growing up my parents, we would sit down, have a meal together pray together and you don't have that at home anymore," says Smith.

Without that at home, sometimes it leads to kids getting involved in the violence.

"I've never been in prison or jail so I got something to offer young people. I just have to get involved myself," adds Antonio.

The goal of the five year grant is come up with a plan to keep kids from making those bad choices. In fact, Jalisa Spears and Antonio both have some ideas in mind already.

"They should have activities for them to be involved in," says Jalisa. "Keeping kids out of trouble and less violence in the schools and crime with the kids."

"To have more activities in the evening that they can be involved in you know, when they get out of school they don't have to just go hit the streets," says Antonio.

Since this is a new grant, city school leaders say it is going to take time to come up with the specific programs and implement them into the schools and the community. There is no timeframe on when that will happen, just yet.

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