Pastors join students on walk to school where 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze was a student

Posted at 12:32 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 12:37:25-05

Just over one week ago the body of 14-year-old Alianna Defreeze was found in a vacant home on the city's east side.

The teen's alleged killer, 44-year-old Christopher Whitaker, charged with aggravated murder and given a $3 million bond.

Now, local pastors and community leaders are joining forces in an effort to prevent another tragedy.

"Sadly, she is our inspiration," Bishop Tony Minor said. 

Starting on Tuesday, local pastors will join students on their walk to school to E Prep and Village Prep. The very school where DeFreeze was a student.

The program will be called "Safe Streets."

"Our children should not be in fear while traveling to and from school. We must use all resources to protect them from those who prey on our babies," Pastor Jimmy L. Gates said in a press release.

The volunteer-based program will begin Tuesday and will focus on schools in Cleveland's most blighted neighborhoods. Leaders hope to partner with five schools within the next month. 

"Safety is paramount for our children in this community," Bishop Minor said.

Bishop said volunteers must pass a background check and training program before they can escort students. Once both of those tasks have been completed, the volunteers will receive a red badge, identifying them as a volunteer.

A community meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 9. If you have questions, call Bishop Minor at 216-324-6352.