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Prayer Service Friday Evening Will Address School Violence

Aug. 24, 2007 — In what organizers describe as an effort to give students a good start to the upcoming school year, the local chapter of Mothers Against Guns will hold annual back-to-school prayer exercises Friday evening at Charlotte Amalie High School.
The organization is backed this year by Gov. John deJongh Jr., who has declared Sunday the "back to school day of prayer" throughout the territory. In a proclamation handed down earlier this month, deJongh emphasized the importance of keeping local households and schools safe and "free from the fear of violence."
"Residents and visitors to the Virgin Islands deplore the excessive and senseless acts of violence against our students, teachers and other educational officials in our school system," the proclamation reads. "And we want to make our schools safe and peaceful learning environments, free from violence."
Celia Carroll, founder of the local chapter of Mothers Against Guns and the Jason Carroll Memorial Fund, said she is encouraged by deJongh's proclamation, and hopes that a strong contingent of parents will be present at the event Friday evening.
"We're living in very dangerous times," she said Friday. "So, I'm asking the parents out there to join forces, because our children need us. This year, we've taken the event to another level, partnering with local churches so we can offer a prayer for everyone going back to school — not just in the territory, but those going abroad to college, as well. And we pray that there will be no killings or stabbings on our campuses this year — we want our kids to have a good start."
Friday's prayer exercises will be held at 7 p.m. in the CAHS auditorium.
On Sunday, churches throughout the territory will also lead their congregations in prayer for returning students. According to a press release from Mothers Against Guns, all local churches have agreed to take part in the activities.
This year, the territory will also be represented in the national Million Father March.
"In recognition of the Million Father March, and also in recognition of its importance to the students, we are asking the clergy to pray for the parents and the children, and we are asking fathers to participate by taking their children to school on the first day of school, and being involved with their children’s schooling during the entire school year," the release says.
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