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Clippers and Cops program teaches teens to avoid crime

At Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Tyrone Dennis taught a course you won’t find in the syllabus.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 7:10 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - At Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Tyrone Dennis taught a course you won’t find in the syllabus.

“You be the change that you want to be, and I’ll be the change that I want to be and we’re going to make the world better together,” Former Atlanta Police Officer Dennis said to a group of students.

And the course may be the most important one these students participated in all year.

“It inspired me to not do what other people do. Just be the bigger person,” Student Jayla Evans said.

The program is called Clippers and Cops and the goal is to educate young teens on how to make good choices and avoid getting into trouble.

“We talk about decision making, goal setting, conflict resolution, like if someone snatched your chain what are you going to do? And most of them were like I’m going to shoot him. I’m going to fight them. It’s like that $25 chain is not worth 25-years of your life,” Dennis said.

Time is of the essence with a surge in violent crimes. Officers said we can’t arrest our way out of the problem.

“The pandemic really affected our kids in a negative way. Maybe not all of them, but enough of them that instruction has been negatively impacted. In some cases, behavior has suffered as well, and our kids have not necessarily always made the right decisions or the strongest decisions when it comes to always exhibiting positive behavior,” Tri-Cities High School staff member Ethel Lett said.

At the end of the day, the program gave hope to many students who responded with these letters of gratitude.

“Just three people, the three officers were able to change that perception on a group of about 30-40 kids,” Student Christopher Lambry said.

“My Mom always told me when you do good things and put good things out there, you’re going to receive good things,” Student Demari Bailey said.

“I don’t know anything about you, but I care,” Dennis said to the students.