A small but growing program in Brooklyn treats violence like a disease and it is trying to prevent it from spreading through the schools. Our education reporter, Lindsey Christ, filed the following report.
Dr. Robert Gore works in the emergency room at Kings County Hospital, where he sees many young people.
"They were coming into the emergency room on stretchers, sometimes alive, sometimes dead, but we start looking at the root cause analysis of why violence takes place, you realize it is avoidable," Dr. Gore said.
Four public high schools sit in the shadow of the massive hospital complex. In 2011, Gore went to work when he was not in scrubs, establishing a violence prevention program that earned the support of the city's hospital and school systems.
"So a couple of questions," said Gore to students in a group discussion. "How many times do you guys feel like you have to defend yourself because of the friends you hang out with?"
The program is called the Kings Against Violence Initiative, or KAVI. He currently serves 120 students that meet every week in small groups or one-on-one.
The goal is to approach violence like a disease and treat it with preventative medicine in the form of advice, mentorship and empathetic support that is delivered to students, who schools say are most at risk.
Students say they show up because they genuinely enjoy the discussions and look up to Dr. Gore and his team.
"The older generation, they influenced me to do a lot," said Zane Paton, a student at The School of Human Rights. "They made me change for the better. And every time I was going to go back to my old ways, they pulled me aside and made sure I wasn't doing the old things that I used to do."
Funding for the program comes from an usual source. The wealth accumulated long ago by the Pinkerton family, former owners of the detective agency that bares the name and has its own bloody past, now works to fight violence.
"It's a good idea that we're happy to nurture," said Richard Smith of The Pinkerton Foundation. "We hope it grows but even if it doesn't grow, it's helping kids today."
Kids who say they have been equip to step away, with pride.
"You're walking away with another day to live, your integrity and you have ability to see friends, family and loved ones," said Paton.