BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Staff stepped away from their desks at Baltimore City headquarters Wednesday for a first of its kind ceremony of peace and remembrance.

Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises described it as “a way to really honor our young people we lost this year due to violence.”

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From the start of the current school year, nine students have been murdered, gunned down on the sidewalks, playgrounds and streets of Baltimore.

Mayor Catherine Pugh said, “with each loss, Baltimore also loses a piece of its future.”

All nine names were read aloud, followed by a moment of silence.

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The reactions from staff were emotional.

“Words cannot describe losing a child,” said schools employee Dana Mason. “So I just pray for the families that lost a loved one.”

“I had some tears in my eyes, because one of the things I do is read the bios the principals send,” said staffer Amanda Ellison. “And it’s very difficult to hear the lives that are cut short.”

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