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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

U.S. Attorney's Office Partners With Asheville City Schools To Launch Empowerment Initiative For Middle School Students

Students Take Charge at Inaugural Youth Summit; Goal is to Promote Positive Climate in Schools and the Community

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The United States Attorney’s Office has partnered with Asheville City Schools to launch an empowerment initiative for middle school students, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  The one-day youth summit was co-sponsored by the University of North Carolina – Asheville, the Sparc Network and the Grove Park Inn. 

Approximately 200 students selected from Asheville Middle School attended the summit, which was held on the campus of UNC-Asheville.  The goal of the summit was to encourage middle school students to discuss the culture and climate within their schools, to share their experiences with classmates, and to develop solutions for creating a positive school environment for students. 

“All students deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential and to thrive within their schools without fear of harassment, violence or bullying,” said U.S. Attorney Rose.  “When students are engaged and learn how to become agents of change, they are empowered to proactively address conflict, solve problems and foster a more positive school experience for all students.  The summit is an opportunity for character development and positive growth.”

During the one-day summit, student leaders from Asheville Middle School discussed their concerns about their school’s current environment and developed strategies to address social pressures, including bullying.  Over the course of the summit, students participated in student-led discussions, brainstormed on ways to help support all students have a positive school experience and developed action plans to address the needs of their school. 

“Our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our collaboration with our community partners has been incredible,” said Superintendent Baldwin following today’s summit.  “I want to thank everyone who is supporting our efforts in our students’ voice initiative and for supporting important changes for our city and our school district.”

In addition to the interactive workshops, students also heard from Professor Michelle Horton of Wake Forest University and Founder & CEO of YOUniversity; Mr. Reggie Bean, author of Unfinished: 40 Lessons on Purpose, Self, and Becoming a Man; Dr. Pamela White, Superintendent of Asheville City Schools; April Dockery Principal of Asheville Middle School; Chief Tammy Hooper of the Asheville Police Department; and Chancellor Mary Grant of UNC-Asheville.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Rose thanked UNC-Asheville for hosting the summit and giving the students an opportunity to gather, and the Grove Park Inn and the Sparc Network for their support of this very important initiative. 

 

Updated October 12, 2016