April 21st was a very dark day for Delaware. Amy Joyner-Francis was beaten in a bathroom at Howard Technical High School in Wilmington leading to her death shortly after. Delaware didn’t have a death like this in one of our schools since 1973. For weeks, Delaware citizens felt the impact of Amy’s death.
What happened to Amy that day led to much-needed discussion about school safety and climate in The First State. The perpetrators of the incident, Trinity Carr, Zion Snow, and Chakeira Wright faced criminal charges. Snow and Wright were charged as conspirators while primary charges were filed against Carr but a judge ruled she would be tried as a juvenile. The trial will take place in April 2017. Many Delaware citizens felt the charges against Carr should have been bigger. At a maximum, if found guilty of criminally negligent homicide, Carr, 16, would face community service and therapy until the age of 19.
The cause of death ruled by the medical examiner kicked off controversy. The examiner ruled that Amy had a pre-existing heart condition which led to her death, not the severe beating she received from Carr. Many in the field disputed these findings.
The most disturbing part about Amy’s death was the fact that many students watched this go down in a high school bathroom and did nothing. By the time a teacher got there, it was too late for Amy. Not touched on by major media was the fact that school monitors did not respond to the situation fast enough (if at all) and that most teachers were involved in a training class at the time of the incident. Governor Markell issued a brief response to the murder as he went on his “Common Core Tour” at a Delaware school far away from the crime. The New Castle County Vo-Tech School District held a press conference hours after the death proclaiming that their schools were safe.
In the first week of the incident, conflicting reports about what happened flooded online media, including this blog. Debates over what happened, and some tried to profit off Amy’s death. As her family and friends struggled to deal with her death, the media onslaught continued. News quickly came out that the beating was filmed by students along with pictures taken on cell phones. An entire state grieved for Amy. For Amy, her life was tragically cut short in an environment where this should have never happened. Over seven months later, her death still makes no sense…
I ask that all continue to pray for Amy’s family and friends as they face the holidays, especially her parents. No parent should outlive their child and it is a weight that will never leave them.