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DMPS hosts first 'community conversation' following shooting near East High

The school district is planning five sessions throughout the city to help the community heal and drive toward solutions to violence.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Maria Uribe is a mom to five kids. Two of them are students at East High School.

"I've been worried about my two kids. They both come to the school," said Uribe.

After that deadly shoot near the school in early March, Uribe has been looking to make a difference.

"We're doing something. We're trying," she said.

On Thursday, that meant being part of what Des Moines Public Schools is calling a community conversation.

"What you're seeing is a community that's responding to the events that have taken place and also is responding to wanting to work with the district in a collaborative way," said Dwana Bradley, chair of the Des Moines School Board.

About 100 people turned out for the first of five scheduled across the city. Participants eventually broke up into smaller groups for private conversations.

"We're expecting to hear their actual feelings or actual emotions and also their solutions and their opportunities that we can capitalize on as a community and as an organization," said Matt Smith, associate superintendent from DMPS.

The goal, the district said, is to help the community heal and drive toward practical solutions for how to move forward.

"I think sometimes when we do these things, we expect to see something immediate," said Bradley. "To me change is... a hard thing too with people and individuals, and I think as a district is taking the first step in saying that community, you matter, we want you a part of this."

Uribe has her own thoughts on what she would like to see.

"I think that's my first thing... police security on the school," she said.

Uribe said, however, she's open to the ideas of fellow parents.

"I know everyone has a different point of view, so I would like to hear ... everything everyone has to say."

The next four sessions are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. on the following dates: 

  • May 2: Lincoln High School
  • May 3: Roosevelt High School
  • May 11: Hoover High School
  • May 12: North High School

Registration for each event is available on the DMPS website.

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