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Deaths of 35 students has educators asking, when is enough enough?


Buffalo Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash says too many city school students are dying in street violence and he wants the school system to do something about the deaths. The effort comes in he wake of the shooting death of School 45 seventh-grader Badr Elwaseem.

The Buffalo School Board recently heard a plea from a teacher to offer some kind of treatment or counselling for teachers who have lost current or past students to street violence. The superintendent told the board meeting he would consider it.

The school system does offer help to other students, as it offered help at School 45 last week. Police say Elwaseem was killed in his living room by a stray shot while watching TV.

"Fifteen last year, 18 the year before, two so far this year," Cash said. "What this one did for me and I think Barbara, too, because we were all day working on this, this is different because it's sort of like when is enough enough? When is enough enough because that child was just sitting there?"

Board Member Paulette Woods pointed to extensive hiring of counselors and psychologists and suggested they could help outside the buildings.

"If you want to reduce school violence, vicious bullying and have some way of handling this, they want more social workers, psychologists to address the mental health issues and help everything," Woods said.

Cash said the district also has to deal with the perennial issue of student bullying in the buildings, with a strong pushback on that issue.

"We got this bullying-anti-bullying thing going, but you got violence that needs to be addressed in a community way. It's not just a school thing," Cash said. "You got a lot of things you can do. That's going to be sort of my next push, with the next board and the next piece of work is to get Buffalo to become the biggest non-violent city."

Cash said the city is currently listed as one of the most violent for its size.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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