Mayoral candidates react to death of Wilmington student

Police vehicles outside Howard High in Wilmington. (John Jankowski/for NewsWorks)

Police vehicles outside Howard High in Wilmington. (John Jankowski/for NewsWorks)

Wilmington mayoral candidates react to the tragic death of a Howard High School student.

The incident happened as candidates were preparing to discuss and debate public safety at the school tonight. Police are currently investigating what started out as a fight between girls. A community now mourns the loss of a 16-year-old student.

“We have to teach our children how to engage in conflict resolution better. We have to grow our kids better,” said Wilmington Council President Theo Gregory who publicly expressed his condolences for the victim’s family.

“As a father, having a small daughter, I could not imagine sending my daughter to school and then having someone call me, telling me that she’s no longer here. My heart goes out, it’s just a horrific moment,” said candidate Eugene Young.

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Former City Council President Norman Griffiths also shared his thoughts.

“Every parent now who sends their kid to school, not just Howard High School but any school is now thinking wow! We’re already worried about the killers that show up at like Sandy Hook ,and places like that and that could be any school including schools here in Wilmington,” Griffiths said. “This is the kind of thing that hits close to home and it shows you that your children are going to school with other individuals who might be prone to doing this sort of thing and so you got to be worried if you’re a parent.”

Mike Purzycki hesitated to comment on the incident at this time. “I don’t know enough about what happened, I have some rough details. I don’t know what anybody could have done,” Purzycki said.

Meanwhile candidate and former city councilmember Kevin Kelley shared that he’s quite close to the family and urges parents to talk more with their children.

“We have to realize we have a generation of young people, teenagers, who are hurting and need help and we’ve got to work better with them, through schools and after school programs. Families really need to look at their children and say what are you doing today, are you doing the right things and if not what can I do to help you,” Kelley said.

“I think the tragedy today points to the need for public education to take a closer look at student behavior and intervene earlier. Obviously that didn’t happen,” said state Senator Bob Marshall who also has his eye on the mayor’s seat.

“I’m a mother first and I have a twelve year old and I’m just imagining that if my son went to school and I’ve got the call that something happened,” said Councilwoman At-Large Maria Cabrera as she tried to fight back tears.

“We just can’t keep losing our children in the city of Wilmington,” added Cabrera.

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