Summer school session teaches safe interactions with law enforcement

School Watch

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — More communities across the country are having “the talk” about how law enforcement and kids of color interact.

Lenoir County Public Schools welcomed BJ Council and her program, “You & 5-0,” as a part of their summer school curriculum. The program fits into LCPS’ plan of including social and emotional learning opportunities for the Summer Enrichment Academy.

“In the Black community it’s about the talk,” said Council.

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On Wednesday, students from across the district had that talk at Kinston High School.

“You always keep your hands where they can see them, so they don’t think you’re reaching for nothing, and they won’t shoot,” said Andre Hall, a freshman.

“Be respectful, comply,” said Artasia Gordon, a sophomore.

Council believes there’s still a knowledge gap, even after “the talk.”

“You have to figure out what two, Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment, you can apply to exercise those rights calmly,” said Council.

Council started the organization You & 5-0 to teach teens and kids how to interact with law enforcement.

“It’s individual officers making individual decisions and I’m trying to get people to understand that you’re dealing with an individual officer, so get through that interaction,” said Council.

Council served as Deputy Chief of the Durham City Police Department and wants people to remember, comply then complain. You can always file a complaint about an officer with the department if they aren’t acting professionally. Council said you can’t file a complaint if you don’t comply and don’t make it home from that interaction.

“I always stress to my kids as well, just comply,” said Officer Rob Mewborn, with the Kinston Police Department. “Why you comply it’s better for the officer and for the person we’re dealing with.”

Mewborn believes knowing what the law allows you to do is powerful.

“I feel like if they have the information and the tools they have…they’ll have a better, positive interaction,” said Mewborn.

The kids are listening.

“I learned that nine times out of ten the police are just as scared as we are, because not only are we in danger, but they’re in danger too,” said Gordon.

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