Students plan documentary on gun violence

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Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 1 42 32 PMCHULA VISTA –Some students in Chula Vista are working to find solutions to the problem of gun violence through a new documentary called Beyond the Crossfire.

It started as part of a school project for 11th graders at High Tech High Chula Vista.

“Kids can make a difference,” said Carlo Gomez, an 11th grader working on the documentary.

The students plan to start filming in January, interviewing other young people to brainstorm ideas and solutions.

“As young people we don’t want to just sit around and let the adults handle it,” said 11th grader Ciera Ybarra.

The documentary has one rule.  It doesn’t enter into the gun rights vs. gun control debate.

“That was one thing that we consciously took off the table because there’s disagreement on our own team,” said humanities teacher Matt Simon.  “It’s been exciting to see what the students come up with, what kind of research they do when you can’t sit and focus on that approach to the topic.”

Simon said they’ve looked deeply into ideas about investing in communities with high levels of gun violence.

“They’ve unearthed some really interesting mentor programs and internship programs that give young people hope,” he said.

Some of the students have personally  felt the  impact gun violence. Some have had family members shot and others are worried about loved ones in law enforcement.  One of the teachers involved in the project lost a niece last December in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Conn..

“People have gone through so much pain, and we’re just trying to find different ways to solve it,” said student Tirsa Mercado, who is in charge of community outreach for the project.

The students also lost a classmate, Sean Fuchs, in 2011.  Fuchs and his little brother were killed by their father, who then turned the gun on himself.

“A lot of people were close to (Sean),” said Carlo Gomez.

The students are in the process of fundraising for their project.

“If all goes right and we’re able to raise enough money, students will be going on field trips to places like Newtown, Chicago, New Orleans, and Detroit in small production teams to actually produce segments of the documentary,” said Matt Simon.

The students said their goal is reach the entire nation.  The students have set up a Facebook page with more information about  Beyond the Crossfire.

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