Watch CBS News

Students Pledge Against Violence While Four Face Weapons Charges

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- As hundreds of Miami students took a pledge against violence on Friday, four other middle school students accused of possessing a loaded weapon at a South Florida School came before a judge.

The group simultaneously raised their right hands to take a pledge against violence this school year at a special, anti-violence youth rally held at Jungle Island.

CLICK HERE To Watch Peter D'Oench's Report

Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa led the pledge at the event. All of the students also signed a giant copy of the pledge which will be sent Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Fifth grade student Leonard Smith told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "A lot of people are involved with drugs and gangs and violence and bad stuff. I don't want any of my friends to get hurt."

Another fifth grade student, Elizabeth Hernandez, said she signed the pledge against school violence because "I don't want to see people bullied and hurt. I just want them to be friends. We're saying stop the violence."

Later the same day, four Brownsville Middle School students, between the ages of 12 to 15, accused of packing heat at school appeared in front of a judge ordered them to be held in home detention.

"So don't be talking about your case. You will be in home detention. You'll be able to be at home and go to school and that is pretty much it. Yes," said Judge Angelica Zias.

The students will also be under a 10-day suspension from school. A recommendation for expulsion was put in as well as a request for the four to be put in an alternative program.

The school board will gather on October 7th to decide if the four students will be expelled from the school.

Just one day before they faced a judge in bond court who ordered them to remain in custody until Friday's hearing.

Sources said the incident may have stemmed from a shooting on Wednesday less than two blocks away from the school and there are concerns about the possibility of turf wars spilling over in to the school.

Officials said one student brought a gun to school because of bullying and they claim they got the two loaded semi-automatic pistols from some adults.

A police report says one of the arrested students said he was showing one weapon to friends who are gang members. Another student who had a weapon in his waistband claimed he was holding on to it for another student but he did not know his name. The report said the serial number on the weapon had been scratched off and noted that the gun had been stolen from the state Georgia.

The report said the students possessed .25 caliber and .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols.

While the parents are not talking, supporters from the Power U Center demonstrated at the juvenile justice center.

A spokeswoman says the brother of one of those arrested belongs to her group and said of his arrested brother: "He only brought the gun to school to prevent bullying from happening. It's an indication of bullying happening and a conflict at the school," said Yeshimabeit Milner of the center.

A spokeswoman for the families of the arrested students, Lateresa Jones, told D'Oench.

"The parents were never notified by the school system that their kids were being charged. Now we're worried about gang retaliation and we need systems and strategies in place."

"These are kids. They are kids," she said. "And they were given the guns by adults."

When she was asked who the adults were, Jones responded, "I'm not going to incriminate the kids. I am not going to say. That is up to their attorneys to speak. I say these kids need support. Their families need support so there will not be retaliation from the community."

One former student, 20-year-old Annie Thomas, said, "They aren't criminals. They are our future and they need to be treated as such."

All four students have been charged with possessing a loaded firearm on school grounds. Their names are not being made public due to their ages.



View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.