After broadly criticizing recent media coverage of the suicide of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera, DeKalb County schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis said Wednesday the school district will release the results of an internal review of the circumstances surrounding the student's death next week.
Lewis will hold a press conference at district headquarters on Wednesday, May 20, at 10 a.m. with retired Judge Thelma Wyatt Moore, who is heading an internal review of the case. Jaheem, who attended Dunaire Elementary School, hanged himself on April 16 after complaining about incessantly bullying at school.
“I trust that you will be just as eager to publish the details of our internal review,” Lewis said after claiming local media organizations eagerly published or aired “allegations” against Dunaire Elementary. “Judge Moore has been meticulous in her pursuit of the truth. … I do look forward to having a conversation.”
Many media reports included Jaheem’s mother’s claims that she had approached the school’s administration several times about bullying to no avail.
During his Wednesday press conference, Lewis spent several minutes listing positive programs at Dunaire Elementary – a counterbalance to what he claimed were repeated negative media portrayals of the school. Before the press conference, district spokesmanDale Davis informed reporters Lewis would not answer any questions, frustrating several of them.
After he ended the conference, a television reporter began to ask a question. Lewis stood and awkwardly left the room silently.
The district is also cooperating with DeKalb County District Attorney Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, who has expressed an interest in the facts surrounding Jaheem’s suicide but has not opened a formal investigation.