The Patriot Post

The student news site of Birmingham Community Charter High School

The student news site of Birmingham Community Charter High School

The Patriot Post

The student news site of Birmingham Community Charter High School

The Patriot Post

South L.A. High School Student Dies After Safety Team Doesn’t Intervene

Screenshot photo of Elijah McGinnis III from his GoFundMe. (photo: Janice Rodriguez (12))

Tragedy has struck the family of Elijah McGinnis III, a 15-year-old high school student at Washington Preparatory High School in South Los Angeles. An unidentified man opened fire on Elijah after school as students were waiting for the bus in South L.A. A video was released on social media that showed the tragic events that occurred on April 15. In the video, we can see an unidentified student getting repeatedly punched by another individual, and around them, there are more than a dozen other students, as the boy tries to get away the group around them attacks him again. He is then seen taking out a gun to try and save himself from being killed but instead, he fires at Elijah three times. McGinnis appears to be standing directly in front of him at the time. McGinnis was then rushed to the hospital but unfortunately, he died due to the severity of his injuries. The individual who shot Elijah was taken into custody.

The question here is: Would Elijah still be alive if the school safety staff had intervened and stopped the fight before the student ever reached for a gun? Elijah’s mother, Denise Queen, certainly agrees that this incident wouldn’t have happened if the school had done more. She claims her son was a victim of bullying long before this all occurred. She asks, “How was it an accident or self-defense when the boy who killed him is alleged to have had a gun on campus?” Her frustration is evident. No mother should have to go through the pain of losing a child. There is no answer as to if the shooting was gang-related or not.

Regardless of the reasons a group of students was assaulting the young man looking to defend himself, it still never should’ve reached that point. When will there be a conversation about ways to deal with conflict that doesn’t involve violence that almost always leads to someone being seriously injured or killed? The individual attacked felt like the only way to save himself was to defend himself with a gun. When in all actuality the security team could’ve de-escalated the fight the minute they started arguing. In the video filmed by students, an adult can be heard saying “Let them…fight. If they want to fight… Let the police [inaudible]… I’m not breaking up s-. I don’t give a f-.” The adult who said he wouldn’t intervene is a member of the “Safe Passages” program, a foundation the school provides to get students to and from school unharmed. The main goal of the organization is to deal with conflict resolution and community relationship building. Now what message does it send students that an adult, whose only job is to prevent fights, doesn’t “give a f-?”

Are programs like “Safe Passages,” a good substitution for police in and around schools? Or are negligent staff workers not doing enough to stop altercations between students like police do?  Although there is an increase in student attendance and a decrease in physical fights in schools that choose to substitute police with safety teams, there are still crimes like these occurring almost every week. Maybe these programs can work, but they need to have responsible staff members who care about these students’ lives. If the right person was involved in this situation, then they could’ve de-escalated the situation and no one would have died. Of course, there is only so much you can do. Unfortunately, the student might find another place to fight, which is why we need to teach students about conflict resolution instead of relying on how much a safety team member cares.

Story continues below advertisement

The purpose of this article isn’t to place blame on anyone, but rather to hold our schools and students responsible for their careless actions and weak delivery of justice. As of now, there is no clear update on the situation. All we know is the individual who shot Elijah was taken into custody and the others involved have not yet been arrested and it is unknown if they will be arrested or charged.

The Family of Elijah has started a GoFundMe for the funeral expenses. You can help cover some of the expenses by clicking on the following link:

Hopefully, all parties involved find peace and the McGinnis family can heal and grieve the loss of their 15-year-old son and brother, with the hope that this will someday not occur to anyone else and that justice will be served.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Patriot Post Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *