Charlottesville tragedy puts Boone County high school in unwanted limelight

08/15/2017 02:37 PM

UNION – When James Alex Fields allegedly decided to ram his automobile into a line of cars on Saturday afternoon leading to 1 death and 19 injuries at a white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, Randall Cooper High School in Boone County became known around the country.

Fields, who is charged with suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death, was a 2015 graduate of Cooper High in Union.

While some acquaintances and teachers have described Fields as being infatuated with the neo-nazi movement, Cooper principal Mike Wilson saw a rather unassuming student.

“What I remember of him, was a quiet and reserved person student in our school,” Wilson said.

Wilson admits that the incident has led to school teachers and administrators to look closely at their students and try identifying visible signs of students who might need help or guidance.

Something that Cooper educators do every year, but maybe with a little more purpose this year in light of the Charlottesville tragedy.

“As educators, we’re reflecting about what can we do more, what can we do better, we’re always reflective about how can we make this the best year, how can I reach the most kids and all students,” Wilson said. “We’re doing that same thing. It has a little bit more relevancy due to the events of last weekend and our connection with a graduate.”

The demeanor of staff and faculty at the Boone County School has noticeably changed since the tragic incident.

“Somber would be one descriptor, of course, disheartened about the event, and then the connection as well,” Wilson said. “Saddened, sickened about hate and violence. It has no place and has no resolved that anything good would come from, so our teachers are very somber and reflective.”

Wilson has been busy doing many national media interviews while trying to get ready for the first day on school on August 16, he and his staff plan on emphasizing the many positives at the school including its many accomplishments in academics, athletics and the many successful graduates from the school which enters its tenth year of operation.


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