HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County Public Schools addressed the youth violence that has been happening in the community and the school systems in a town hall meeting on Monday night.

The panel discussion included community members such as Henrico County Chief of Police, Eric English; Dallas Gardner, a student at Henrico County High School; and several HCPS Family and Community Engagement staff members.

Sterling Royal was the cousin of a 20-year-old man that was killed on June 3rd. He attended last night’s meeting with the central question — what are we going to do as a community to stop this?

“Children are ending one cycle of their life and enjoying the moment before starting the next chapter of their lives,” Royal said. “They’re going to their parties to have a good time and not knowing that their parents may get a phone call saying…’your child is not coming home.’ It’s sad.”

While youth violence is happening in the community, it is also gradually filtering into daily activities for kids. Activities as simple as going to school. Dallas Gardner, a student at Henrico County high school, spoke about his experiences this school year and his familiarity with these kinds of situations.

“To a certain extent, we get desensitized to the fact that it is happening over, over, and over again,” Gardner said. “There has been talk about changing, but there needs to be a process for change. There needs to be an actual system for change, not just all bark and no bite.”

Since January, eight Henrico students have been charged with firearm possession on school grounds, whether in their car or with them in the building. Henrico County Chief of Police, Eric English, believes he may have an idea of where to start with the issue of youth violence in the school systems.

“We need to square up our kid’s social media. They might tell you one thing, but I’m telling you a lot of these incidents are starting because of social media, and we need to be more involved in that aspect of it,” says Chief English.

Chief English also asked the community to take action if they see something suspicious and that it could save somebody’s life.

“We have juveniles out in some communities that are carrying firearms,” English said. “Nobody is saying anything until gunfire erupts, and then they call 911.”

With the school year coming to an end, parents still have questions about what changes will be made for the next school year to keep the students safe and youth violence out of the system.

“If children are being killed, is the school being there? Are the counselors helping the grief with the children? Are the police coming in and helping the families deal with the grief as well?” Royal said. “Because children still have to go to school and the parents still have to go to work. What is being done to support these people during these tragic events?”