‘There are no words’: 9-year-old killed in Richmond was student in Chesterfield

Updated: May. 28, 2019 at 7:02 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Just weeks before she would have completed the third grade at Crestwood Elementary, Markiya Dickson was shot and killed at a Richmond Park.

“Just thinking as a high school teacher - prom, graduation - her parents will never get to see her graduate from high school,” said Sonia Smith, president of the Chesterfield Education Association. “I can’t put it into words."

Looking at a photo of the smiling little girl was difficult for Smith, who spent more than a decade in the classroom.

Markiya Simone Dickson.
Markiya Simone Dickson.

“It’s the end of the school year, awards ceremonies, preparing for summer camp, these are things that should be on the minds of third graders, not ‘I lost a friend to gun violence,’" said Smith.

Richmond Public Schools confirms Markiya transferred into Crestwood this school year, she was previously a student at Redd Elementary in the City of Richmond.

Monday night, Crestwood Principal Lindsay Porzio reached out to families about the loss of one of their own.

“Good evening Crestwood families, this is Principal Lindsay Porzio. It is with much sadness that I share the Crestwood community has experienced the loss of one of our students, third grader Markiya Dickson. Tonight, our team has gathered to contact parents and families directly affected. Additional counselors from neighboring schools will be here to assist students as needed. Please keep the Dickson family in your thoughts."

In the City of Richmond, the school division had support on hand at several schools Tuesday.

“For this specific incident, we have grief supports available for students as well as adults at multiple schools,” explained an RPS spokeswoman. “Given there were so many children at the park, we want to be sure we’re providing supports broadly.”

During a press conference Tuesday, Superintendent Jason Kamras says the violence was witnessed by several young people, the reason they want to make sure they are supporting children who may have experienced trauma. RPS provides additional trauma informed support in many of their East End schools as well as Oak Grove, they have a partnership with ChildSavers.

“Sadly this is all too common for many of the young people in Richmond Public Schools, and it’s why we continue to prioritize investing in mental health support for our young people, so they can deal with these incredibly difficult realities," said Kamras.

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