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Peoria High students say recent events not representative of their school

Kristin McHugh/WCBU

An outbreak of violence at Peoria High School nearly two weeks ago has opened up a wider conversation on how the district is handling troubled children.

A few Peoria High students spoke to a WCBU reporter about how they are feeling after the events unfolded.

The events at Peoria High on Sept. 17 have been a hot topic among students and members of the community. It evokes a wide range of emotions among teachers and students at the high school, but many students say what they are feeling the most is sadness for how their school is being portrayed.

Peoria High junior Dy’Ana Strong said she recognizes the events that happened that Friday were bad and should never happen again, but she still loves her school and all of the positive things that are happening there.

"I really do enjoy being at Peoria High. The way Peoria High is looked at, with that it's like, 'Oh, we do one bad thing' and it's really bad, but I feel like we have a good AVID class. We have good sports teams, and things like that and other clubs are like, really, are very positive. Peoria High isn't recognized for (that)," Strong said.

Peoria High junior Aeryn Hill said students and staff are doing a great job of trying to bring some light and positivity back into the building.

"Pride Team made gift baskets for all the security officers the following Monday. So, that was good to get some positive vibes out there," Hill said. "We should just be doing more things to keep us occupied, not just sitting and talking about all the negatives."

Hill also said that she continues to be a proud Peoria High student despite the negativity.

"I definitely can say that I love my school. Most of the time. I feel safe there. I think it's like we have a really good environment there," Hill said. "It just happens that you know a few students handled things the wrong way. But I do enjoy being at school as the teachers; the staff are great. I really can say that I enjoy being like a member."

Strong and Hill both said they are encouraging their peers, staff, and the community to continue to move forward and focus on the positive.

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Olivia Streeter is an intern at WCBU. The Illinois State University student joined WCBU in 2020.