ON-Lion Letter
In late April, the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) system released a report on the number of violent incidents in six high schools participating in the Violence-Free Zone (VFZ) initiative.  From December 2006 to February 2007, the number of violent incidents at the schools was down 23% from the same period a year ago.  The number of nonviolent incidents, such as verbal abuse, was down 11%.  Suspensions decreased nine percent.

VFZ is a project of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in Washington, D.C.  The VFZ model employs trusted neighborhood leaders to mediate conflict, promote strong moral character, provide employment assistance, and help transform young people from destructive gang warriors into purposeful community builders.  It is already significantly reducing youth violence in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, the District of Columbia, and Prince George's County, Md., among many other places.

As part of the VFZ effort in Milwaukee, more than 50 youth advisors began working in MPS's Bay View, Custer, James Madison, Marshall, North Division, South Division, and Washington High Schools last year.  James Madison's VFZ began this academic year.  The VFZ's Milwaukee community partners are the Latino Community Center and the Running Rebels Community Organization.

MPS and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, along with several other local philanthropies, substantially support the VFZ initiative in Milwaukee.
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