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Wilmer-Hutchins High School students try to change the narrative after school shooting

DALLAS — On Thursday, about fifteen student leaders from Wilmer-Hutchins High School became mouthpieces for the school. School safety and gun violence were part of the conversation, but the students spoke more about their image.

"Like this is a safe place," Jayquan Boswell said. I spend the majority of my time here. He got a scholarship. I got a scholarship."

Boswell, a track athlete and ROTC member was one of five seniors who spoke at the first student media event held inside Wilmer-Hutchins High School since the school shooting.

Friday, April 12th, a teenager was shot in the leg by another student who somehow got a .38 revolver past metal detectors. The victim, Dallas school officials said, survived thanks to a teacher.

Meantime, police arrested Ja'Kerian Rhodes-Ewing. The 17-year-old is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a weapons charge.

"A student who thought it was the right idea to bring a gun was a good idea," Kevin Espinosa said. "So we're all different."

Espinosa, a senior delving into culinary studies and working after school, called the shooting dumb. He pointed out the impact of the bullet had wounded them all.

"It was just something they had between them, which could have been solved outside of school and not inside of school," he said.

According to band drum major and student body president Diamond McIntyre, a protest this week about gun violence at school got tarnished by some of their peers.

"I just feel that the way some of the kids handled it was not as mature as it could have been, and it did not help our image," McIntyre said.

Michael Ned plays baseball and is one of the school's drum majors. He invites the public to check their positives in a place he calls a safe place.

"Like during football season, we had a female kicker. The soccer team was doing well," he said. "The band, we do well. It's a lot of positive things that go on in the school."

Quinece Torrence said the image of the school seemed to be under fire.

"My fellow classmates, my peers are really upset at the actions that have been taking place for the last couple days at our school," Torrence said. "We're getting a lot of negative attention on social media."

Areas of criticism remain, like how Rhodes-Ewing got the gun inside of the school. Students said the backpack checking had not been strong.

"It shouldn't have gotten to the point where a school shooting has happened here," Ned said. "For them to get serious about checking our bags."

Dallas ISD said it had strengthened security measures since the shooting. But the investigation is ongoing.

"That process before this week has not been thorough, which is why Friday occurred because our bag checks weren't thorough," Torrence said.

McIntyre said the student body is holding a pep rally Friday to boost spirit and address gun violence and school safety.

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