High schoolers grill Kansas City Mayor Sly James - KCTV5

High schoolers grill Kansas City Mayor Sly James

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Kansas City Mayor Sly James says he took his State of the City to a student audience because of they are the ones inheriting the decisions made today. Kansas City Mayor Sly James says he took his State of the City to a student audience because of they are the ones inheriting the decisions made today.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Mayor Sly James was grilled Monday by Northland high school students about his plans to address violence at popular tourist attractions, with some students pressing him for more specifics.

Last year's speech at the Gem Theatre was disrupted. This year, James headed to Park Hill High School Monday morning where he focused on education, public safety and employment opportunities.

James says he took his State of the City to a student audience because they are the ones inheriting the decisions made today.

James briefly addressed last week's outbreak of violence at the Kansas City Zoo, standing affirmed that it was a small group of kids causing problems at Kansas City's entertainment districts. Click here for more information.

Shots fired outside Kansas City Zoo amid fights

"There's trouble everywhere, but there's also only a small group of kids doing this, but it kind of stains everybody," James said.

Andrew Jiminez tried to pin the mayor down with more specifics.

"The disturbances that happened last summer at Westport and the Plaza areas caused by young people. What are your plans to fix that? Do you think that will happen at Zona Rosa this year?" he asked.

"We need parents to start parenting. We need churches to start churching. We want nonprofits to start nonprofiting," James replied.

Jiminez then interrupted him.

"I feel like this is a whole different topic you're getting into," the student interjected.

"No, no," James replied. "We have to do that as a community. The city cannot take care of every child in this city."

He also addressed a current piece of legislation promoting gun restrictions in the state legislature.

While the mayor addressed violence problems, he also focused on economic development, calling the border wars "boring wars."

He says job poaching is more of a political talking point than a reality.

After his speech, KCTV5's Bonyen Lee pressed the mayor for more answers about how the zoo will offer free admission several times a year to Jackson and Clay county residents in the wake of the violence. James called for an end to the free days, but Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff has said an accommodation must be reached since free zoo admission days were promised to voters in exchange for their support of a tax for zoo improvements.

"The meeting was held. We talked. We agreed to get back together after we had an opportunity to explore and research some of the options that were put on the table during the meeting that I really can't get into," he said. "Every thought that we have about trying to get things done does not have to be explored in public."

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