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Chicago School Recovers from Student Shooting

Park Manor Elementary School and the surrounding community in Chicago, Illinois, could have bogged down in negativity after one of its young members was shot. But this PA school is taking proactive steps to reduce gang violence, and went ahead with a planned Positive Action Day shortly after the horrific accident.

Eleven-year-old Markeis Willard was riding his bike to the park by the school on March 14th when he got caught in gang crossfire and was shot in the abdomen. Devastated by evidence of violence so near their innocent children, the parents and law enforcement vowed to make it a safer place.

Just a month later, on April 17th, Park Manor held their Positive Action Day. All teachers taught the same PA lesson, every classroom made a colorful PA banner, and some students shared their PA projects.

At an afternoon assembly, the principal and PA Coordinator (also Markeis’ teacher) thanked the students and faculty for their outpouring of support.

Dr. Carol Allred, President and Developer of PA, and staff from the University of Chicago at Illinois, presented a large outdoor banner that read, “Park Manor Elementary is a Positive Action School.” Allred then shared a brief message to encourage the school to continue doing positive actions to make their school a better and safer place.

And, to the most enthusiastic applause, Markeis himself stood behind the podium and thanked everyone.

Park Manor is evidence that nothing can get in the way when people are committed to providing a safe, caring school environment where students can achieve success and happiness.