Teacher takes it upon herself to clean up Zion City after weekend murder

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Four shootings left three young men dead in a matter of just days. That has one school teacher saying enough is enough and that her students deserve better.

The string on incidents started on Thursday, February 15 around 3:45 p.m. on Prescott Road, where Raymond Phillips, 15, was shot and killed.

Then on Saturday, around 10:30 a.m. at a BREC Park on Cadillac Street, 19-year-old Dequantay Singleton's body was found.

And on Sunday, a double shooting on Clearview Avenue at 9:30 p.m. left Tr'Markus Taylor, 20, dead and another person rushed to the hospital in serious condition.

RELATED: Double shooting on Clearview Ave. leaves 1 dead

"One is too many, but to see them clumped together like that at this really young age is really troubling to see that," said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Moore says in many cases, teen victims and suspects have been through the system, sometimes more than once. He says legislation legally changing the age of a juvenile and funding are becoming major problems for them. "A child that gets shot and survives, he may get $50,000 to $100,000 in services in that week at the hospital, whereas if he was not shot, but it was still a troubled kid, he would get absolutely zero services," said Moore.

More than that though, Moore points out violence is not just a problem for the immediate area where it happens.

"I teach at Cadillac Street and I teach there by choice," said Becky Nissen.

Nissen is a teacher at North Banks Middle School, just blocks from where Singleton was found dead in a park. A teacher for 37 years now, she says her students should not have to see and walk through all they do in the Zion City neighborhood. Businesses are boarded up. Another block up, there was an an overgrown lot, not to mention all the trash everywhere.

"Let's start taking pride in our community. I do not live in 70811, but I work there. Those are my kids and my kids deserve better," said Nissen.

The sidewalk on Cadillac Street has overgrown vegetation, forcing children to walk in the streets. There is trash and debris piled up and that's what Nissen wants to help clean up. "I need people to come help with the edgers, weed eaters. I can offer you nothing. I cannot feed you lunch. I cannot offer you a bottle of water. The only thing I can offer you is that you will have a warmth in your heart from helping our community," said Nissen.

"I'm glad to see somebody like her because it can never be police and law enforcement. It has to be from the community up. I applaud people like her who take it upon their own hands," said Moore.

"Let's put some pride back in the Zion City area. Please, I'm asking. I'm begging. My kids deserve better than this. Thank you," said Nissen.

For anyone willing to help, Nissen is starting at 8 a.m. on March 24 at the BREC Park on Cadillac Street.

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