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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Two thousand students enrolled at Dallas’ Sunset High School clamored around the cadre of TV cameras gathering near the school’s auditorium.  “Why are y’all here”, one 15-year-old asked of no one in particular.  “Why are there so many police and Secret Service”, another question posed.  In fact, 19 students from the Oak Cliff school were about to find out why the media and law enforcement visitors had arrived.

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U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch made the school her first stop on a two-day information tour of Dallas.

“Community policing is a partnership”, she said while addressing a circle of high schoolers, college students, teachers and two members of the Dallas Cowboys football team.  Lynch has advocated for community conversations addressing Community Policing.

The Dallas visit comes almost three months to the day when a Downtown march against police involved shootings, including fatal incidents in Louisiana and Minnesota, turned violent and deadly when lone gunman Micah Johnson ambushed police, killing five local officers.

“We need our police, schools, community, lawyers, everyone”, Lynch urged during her session with students.

15-year-old Nita Stewart was one of the students urged to discuss improving relations between police and communities “It’s a two-way street. Do police respect the people of the community”, Stewart stated after meeting the Attorney General.

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“I want to support police who are here to serve and protect”, Stewart said.  But others were puzzled about the student dialogue event.  Former National LULAC Director Hector Flores of Dallas, and Dominique Alexander, head of Next Generation Action Network questioned why their advocacy groups weren’t contacted about the Attorney General’s visit.

“It’s vitally important we be at the table, but our voices are silenced about these issues”, Alexander said.

“The concerns about police conduct are real.  I don’t understand why we were not included”, Flores said.

Lynch plans a Tuesday forum in far South Oak Cliff. It will include Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

 

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