“I’m praying for Oklahoma, but in general just praying for parents. Because there’s got to be nothing more devastating than to get your little one ready for school, drop her off…and whether by armed gunman or violent tornado, have her taken from you.”
That was the Facebook status of my college classmate, Alia. And I’m sure devastating is the exact feeling 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson’s parents had on January 10 when he failed to return home from Valdosta High School. The next day his body was found in the school’s gym. He was head first in a cheerleading mat. Authorities say he fell in while reaching for a shoe and died of accidental suffocation. But his parents believe his postmortem picture tells a different story.
In addition to that, Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson says he was not immediately called to the scene, an act that breaks protocol and violates the law.
“This was not fair to the decedent, his family, and the citizens of Valdosta and Lowndes County, Ga. And it’s wrong as rain,” Watson said in January when he spoke to The Valdosta Times. “You may not want me on your crime scene, but it’s a law. It’s not something you can change your mind about.”
Johnson’s parents are suffering from what’s becoming an all too familiar tragedy in America, parents sending their children to school only for them to never return. Only it appears Johnson’s parents aren’t getting the answers they rightfully deserve.
Below is the video of Johnson’s parents talking to CNN. At 3pm today there will be a news conference regarding Johnson’s case on the Washington Street steps of the Georgia Capitol. We have to figure out a way to better protect our children at school, a place they should be deemed safe.