“Le France was a great kid. It’s just a sharp reminder that life is precious,” said Michael Anselmo, principal of Selvidge High School.
BALLWIN, Mo. – Blue and green rocks are located near the entrance to Selvidge High School.
Each of them is gently located in the Grace Rock Garden.
“We actually have memorial stones for deceased students who came here or went to high school, and we also have one teacher,” said Michael Anselmo, principal at Middleway Middleway.
The bitter and harsh reality is that the garden will grow with one more rock.
“La Peres was a great kid. It’s just a sharp reminder that life is precious,” Anselmo said.
For a living Johnson, a sixth grader, was shot and killed while at his aunt’s house Tuesday night.
His 10-year-old brother found a shotgun on the bed inside the house and it went out.
Their aunt, Aja Johnson, is now facing an indictment.
As the news began to circulate Wednesday morning, students dripped into middle school crying.
So Anselmo learned what had happened and did his best to comfort them.
“I just recognized the 24 hours he was here and then he was not and how I interacted with him,” Anselmo said.
Anselmo spoke to Le France the same day he passed.
“It was just something silly in running the hallways. Now, acknowledge that I will never do it with him again,” he said.
Anselmo said Selvidge’s student body was a crowded group and Parnes was a big part of it.
“We treat it like family. Le France has always smiled and always had a positive attitude towards others. I think you ask each of the teachers here, he has had a positive impact on their class,” Anselmo said.
However, Le France will continue to shine in Slabidge.
“We will have a commemorative rock for LaFrance avenged here so kids can go out and see him and take a break, think and ponder who he was and how they can be better people by being in their lives,” he said.
The sudden loss comes during a devastating school year for Rockwood County.
As early as November, three teens were killed in a fiery crash in St. Louis County.
Two Market High School students were killed and two others injured in the crash. A third boy who attended De Smet High School was also killed in a crash.
“The tragedies that happened in November were directly related to us here because a couple of these students went to Slabidge,” Anselmo said. “They were friends of my son in 10th grade.”
In early December, an 18-year-old Eureka high school student, Kylie Kennedy, was shot and killed the same week a county teacher died unexpectedly.
On Dec. 15, Carl Hudson, a veteran educator and counselor in the county, died after a long illness.
At the end of December, Bob Wilhite, the band’s principal and teacher at Crestview High School, died.
As the pain intensifies, Anselmo tries his best to be a rock to his students and reminds them, to be kind.
“You don’t have to take each other for granted and be good to each other. Recognize that this moment can pass very quickly or be taken from you, do everything you can the moment you are,” he said.
Selvidge Middle School created a donations page on Thursday.
100% of the donations go to the Johnson family.
If you would like to donate to the LaFrance Foundation, click here.
Once you go to the site, in the ‘School’ section click on the ‘Selvidge Middle School’ option.