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Natchitoches Central High School Principal Discusses Student’s Tragic Death

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He was always a polite young man. That’s what Natchitoches Central High Principal Bill Gordy says about 18-year-old Johnquaries Smith, who died yesterday from injuries suffered in a fight at the school.

Gordy told KEEL News a 16-year-old student punched Smith, and he fell and hit his head. He died yesterday at University Health in Shreveport. Gordy said he’s not aware of any prior conflict between the two students.

“They had no interaction prior to this,” he said. “Just a random act of violence, just kind of indicitave of some attitudes today where violence is used more to sell an issue than good conversation and compromise.”

Counselors have been at the school since yesterday, consoling students and addressing any issues they may have.

“I’ve already talked to at least a half-a-dozen of them who were here from the central office,” Gordy said. “Yesterday, there were over a dozen here, fielding necessary conversations with students. They’ll be here today as long as we need them, and they’ll be here tomorrow if we need them.”

Gordy said since school has only been in session for two weeks, not much is known about any previous behavioral issues the 16-year-old might have had. But he told us what kind of person Johnquaries was.

“Nice young man. Speaks to me, I’d say, three or four days a week,” he said. “Matter of fact, that morning I had walked past him to go to the cafeteria and he said, ‘Hey, Mr. Gordy,’ and I stopped, shook his hand, spoke to him. I always found Johnquaries to be a polite young man. I just can’t say enough good things about Johnquaries.”

The younger teen now faces a manslaughter charge. The district attorney’s office is trying to decide whether he’ll be tried as an  adult in the case.

Listen to Gordy’s complete interview with KEEL’s Robert and Erin:

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