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Stop the Violence Back to School Rally held social distance style

Parents and students received free backpacks and school supplies as organizers hold this event...
Parents and students received free backpacks and school supplies as organizers hold this event every year to try and eliminate violence in schools and on the streets.(wcjb)
Published: Jul. 25, 2020 at 5:23 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Hundreds of parents with kids lined up in their cars to take part in the 21st annual Stop the Violence Back to School Rally in Gainesville. We’ll show you how it changed this year and what parents have to say about sending their kids back to school.

Held at the Alachua County Fairgrounds the goal of this annual event is to give students backpacks and school supplies, but also to spread a message against violence in and outside of school.

Event organizer Pastor Karl Anderson said, “it’s time out for violence our theme is together for each other. We’ve got enough to deal with COVID-19 and life obstacles, why escalate that with violence. Let’s walk peaceably with each other.”

Sontoya Johnson is a mother of 3 who added, “definitely stop the violence, because I know there’s been a lot of stuff going on in Gainesville lately it looks like. Definitely keep the violence out of schools so you can feel safe and kids can feel safe.”

TV20′s Landon Harrar reported, “they started the day with 3000 backpacks just like this stuffed with school supplies. While they were really only able to give away around half to people who drove up here today, they’ll be giving the rest away and delivering them to families who couldn’t make it here because of the pandemic so no student goes to school without a backpack.”

We asked a few parents about if they’ll be comfortable sending their children back to school during a pandemic.

Kafhif Zed's daughter will be entering 2nd grade and he said, "right now I've decided she will work virtually but we'll see especially in October if the conditions are better she will definitely go to school. I would love for her to go to school because being a parent I think your kids will learn more from going to school than working at home virtually."

Johnson added, “I’m a substitute teacher myself so I’m looking forward to going back and I do think they’ll put in things to make it safer for our children. I do trust the school system and that everybody will try to do the best they can.”

Part of the giveaway was Meldon Law offering everybody, even those who did not attend, a no strings attached $15 visa card if you call 1-800-373-8000 next week in efforts to put more money back into the local economy and help small businesses. Anybody can call the number, simply give an address to send the card to and it will be put in the mail. Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.