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In the wake of 18 student deaths in the current school year, the Philadelphia School District will join the local community in a march aimed at protecting its children on April 4.

Many of the students were killed as a result of gun-related violence. The most stirring incident came just last month, when 10-year-old Faheem Thomas-Childs was fatally injured in the crossfire of a drug-related conflict.

The school district is working with the local chapter of the NAACP, State Rep. Jewell Williams (D-Phila.) and other community organizers to bring as many people together as possible to show support for this cause.

"This march is meant to send a message to everyone that parents, adults and citizens can no longer be quiet and tolerate the violence that is happening on our streets every day," Chief Executive Officer of the School District of Philadelphia Paul Vallas said in a March 15 press release.

Although the majority of the children were killed in non-school-related violence, "the loss of one child is one child too many," said Vincent Thompson, spokesman for the school district.

The march is intended to send a "clear and loud message to everyone that the safety of children must be a priority of everyone," he added.

Thompson said the march will be held in conjunction with the Safe Corridors Program, which uses parents and adult volunteers to patrol the streets in order to provide a safe haven for children to walk to and from school. The march is partially intended to increase support for the program.

Supporters are expected to hear speeches from students and parents who have lost children to instances of violence.

The march, which is scheduled to take place on Palm Sunday this weekend, will begin at 2 p.m. at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, on 22nd Street and Lehigh Avenue.

The marchers will pass by well-known drug-dealing spots in the local area before arriving at their destination of Thomas M. Peirce Elementary School.

Childs was shot outside of the school earlier this year.

Two men are currently in custody for the shooting; however, police believe others were involved in the crime. The Philadelphia Police Department is requesting that anyone with additional information come forward.

Neighbors have been reluctant to go to the police with more information related to the crime. Two years ago, a witness was shot just days before she was scheduled to take the stand to testify against an area drug lord.

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