Boys and Girls Club of Athens hosts community meeting

The public is invited to discuss the relationship between the community and police.

Posted: Apr 16, 2019 5:29 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2019 6:47 PM

Last week, cell phone video rocked the city of Athens after a large brawl inside Athens High School that started when a mom became angry. It ended with four arrests.

On Tuesday at 6 p.m., a meeting is being held in Athens to discuss the relationship between the community and police.

WAAY 31 spoke to an organizer of the event about what he hopes to accomplish.

Tank Beavers Gym, inside of the Athens Boys and Girls Club, is where staff is expecting dozens of people to come out and talk through their frustrations. The director of the facility said he wants young adults and police to understand each other, especially after last week.

"You know, right now, we're in a time where it's not a lot of respect for authority, and I think that's a big part of the problem," said
Duane LaRue, Director of the Athens Boys and Girls Club.

He said after last week's fight inside Athens High School, where an adult and three students were arrested, he wanted to do something about it. He talked with Athens police and decided to have an open discussion about changing the way people view officers and their actions.

"Everybody is quick to point the finger and blame others but, sometimes, you have to take a look in that mirror, and I think it starts with us," said LaRue.

LaRue said many young people don't know how to behave around authority, so they need to be taught.

"How would you know they unapproachable if you don't effectively communicate with them," said LaRue.

Jarrett Collier volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club, and he says some students are still hurt by last week's events.

"No matter how many days have passed, there's still those images, so I do believe that this right here will kind of ease everyone's pain," said Collier.

He said he hopes people come out and hear what people on both sides have to say, including police.

"Show we can pull it together. I think it can help a lot of people get closure, help a lot of people explain both sides better," said Collier.

At the meeting on Tuesday, LaRue said they will not be discussing specific events from last week. He wants to keep the focus on solutions to prevent a similar situation from happening.

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