QUEENS — The family of a student who was fatally stabbed last month during a fight over two pairs of headphones has launched an effort to bring conflict-resolution education into city schools in a bid to prevent future senseless violence.
Relatives have been working on the non-violence program since the death last month of Carl Richardson, a 19-year-old who was stabbed inside a barber shop at 227-14 Merrick Blvd. on March 28. They said they hope the curriculum will help teach kids how to avoid volatile situations that escalate beyond their control.
"We're doing things to keep us busy and keep our son's name alive," said Richardson's mother, Johann Richardson, 49.
"It has been very difficult, but the only thing that keeps us going is the Carl Richardson foundation we formed."
The roughly 20-person staff at the Carl David Richardson Foundation plans to hold a handful of conflict-resolution workshops in May and aims to eventually broaden these into a weekslong curriculum for every city school, said Richardson's sister, Sherina Peredaviz, 30.
"Owning one's emotions and reactions is as important to you as gym class, as important as music," said Peredaviz, who is also head of the foundation.
With the help of local politicians, business owners and countless friends, the foundation has already secured several pilot workshops in a middle school, a girls mentorship program and at St. John's Prep School, Richardson's alma mater, Peredaviz said.
An online petition to raise support for placing the conflict-resolution program into every city school had garnered more than 1,000 signatures by Monday afternoon.
He sold two sets of headphones to 34-year-old Cedric Simpson for $80, but never received the money, Peredaviz said. Simpson was outside the Laurelton barber shop where he worked when Richardson came to collect about 1:50 p.m. on March 28, police said.
The two started an argument, which spilled into the shop, where Simpson snatched a pair of shears and plunged them into Richardson's chest, the NYPD said.
Richardson was pronounced dead at Franklin Hospital and Simpson was arrested at the scene, police said.
"A lot of kids don't know how to resolve conflict," Richardson's mother said. "This man was 34 years old when he stabbed my son. He should've known better as an adult."
Simpson, who was born in Jamaica, was ordered held without bail and is due back in court on May 8, city records show.
Richardson's funeral was held at J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home on April 3, according to his foundation's website. Many mourners remembered him as a loving young man who devoted himself to helping people, his sister said.
In the wake of Richardson's death, relatives said they realized they needed a more positive way to celebrate his life.
"I looked at my brother's peers. They were beaten and defeated. They were about to give up. I just felt like I needed to do something," Peredaviz said.
Peredaviz said that during Richardson's funeral, a young woman named Holly said that when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, Richardson was one of the first people who rallied to her side to raise resources for her.
"When I heard that, it just made me feel very proud to be his sister," she said.
"I'm very proud. Even though he's gone I'm very proud of him. I want to spread the word. This is our tribute to him."