DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A Durham, North Carolina teacher is trying to make a difference through music. 

DeAndre Bennett got to work in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas,

“Senseless violence must stop,” he said. “It has to stop in our communities. I always talk about music being used as medicine to heal us in times like this.”

Bennett, who teaches music at the Community School of Digital and Visual Arts in Durham, created a music video featuring 20 of his students, who are in third through fifth grade and roughly the same age as the 19 children who were killed when a gunman opened fire in the Texas classrooms on May 24.

“They couldn’t grasp the concept of what happened,” Bennett said.

To help his students understand and process the tragedy, Bennett channeled the power of the arts.

“It’s a mechanism to cope with this and to deal with their internal feelings,” he said. “We had a conversation of how it made them feel. We talked about ways to get involved and contribute.”

Their contribution is a message of love, set to the music of Michael Jackson, to a grief-stricken community more than 1,400 miles away.

“We want to provide a sense of community and just let them know we’re there for them,” Bennett said.

He admitted that he and other educators are concerned during these trying times.

“I think we’re all a little worried,” he said. “We have to make sure we’re taking all the precautionary actions we can to make sure our school is safe, to protect our students and our staff.” 

Bennett wants his students and other kids to know that they can “Heal the World.”

“We need to love to heal, and we need love to bridge the gap across us,” he said. “Even as young as they are, they are making a difference. We can all make a difference.”