Curtis Jackson was a first grade student at Hayneville Road Elementary. He died when hit by a stray bullet New Year's Eve night. Monday, his classmates returned to school from Christmas break. It's the first time they've been together since little Curtis was killed.
There are always the "if only's" like "if only" 7 year old Curtis Jackson hadn't been standing outside his Gibbs Village apartment on New Year's eve he would be with the other first graders returning to school from Christmas vacation. His teacher Debra Cox misses him. "Oh, the sweetest thing. When they lined up for lunch and I called the children's names and they said you didn't call Curtis. And they said Mrs. Cox call Curtis. So, we called Curtis' name to line up with us today for lunch."
His friends, like Hanson Jacobs, were all there. They were thinking about him and talking about their friend who isn't with them anymore. "My very, very, very best friend was Curtis and still is. Curtis isn't here today is he? You know why? Because he died. Do you know what that means? I can't play with him anymore."
About a third of Curtis Jackson's classmates attended the funeral later expressing their grief in pictures. One is from another best friend who expresses his sadness over his friend's death. Another one is from a cousin, Nakiya Maull, who is trying to make it through a normal day but for her nothing's normal anymore. She writes, I was scared to go to the restroom. Afraid to go on with normal routines." She said, "It feels like he's sick today. And that he maybe back tomorrow? Yes." She later started crying. Her teacher said, "She's normally not this emotional. She's having a rough day today."
In the meantime, Curtis' desk is now in the center of the classroom for all to see. His teacher wants it that way. "They all walked up right over here to it this morning and they were like it's OK. That was one of their biggest concerns was who's going to sit in Curtis' chair? Where was Curtis' chair going to be.?"
Counselors from other schools went to Hayneville Road Elementary to work with the students Monday morning, but his teacher said the students were more restless today than normal.