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Monday, January 21, 2013

Tyson Bailey: Murder victim remembered as ‘a leader in the classroom’

Not everyone at Central Technical School knew Tyson Bailey personally.
But they all knew his smile and presence in the hallways of the school, said principal Sheryl Freeman.
Bailey, 15, was found bleeding from gunshot wounds on the 13th floor of an apartment tower at 605 Whiteside Pl. around 2 p.m. Friday after several emergency calls were made to 911.
Rescue crews — who had to scale 12 flights of stairs to get to the injured teen when the building’s elevators got stuck on separate floors — eventually managed to get Bailey to St. Michael’s Hospital, but he died of his wounds shortly thereafter.
Described as a charming young man who was trying to succeed in school and his sport of choice, football, Bailey’s death has shocked those who knew him.
“He was a leader in the classroom,” Freeman said and his absence Friday from school was uncommon. “He missed a day here and there, but it wasn’t often.”
It’s important, she said, for people to know the vibrant, hard-working student as a young man working for success, and not just another murder statistic.
Freeman and Bailey’s football coaches spoke to media this morning. Some staff and students only became aware of Bailey’s death today: teachers in an early-morning meeting and students over the school’s PA.
“We can’t begin to tell you how shaken we are,” Freeman told a news conference in the school’s library.
As Freeman and coaches Norm Davis and Steven Vitorino spoke of a bright young man carving a path to a successful future on and off the field, football videos and photos played on                computers monitors and a projection screen.
Freeman said Bailey’s family connection to the school goes back a number of years. Bailey’s older sister graduated from Central Tech in 2008 and is in her final year at Ryerson.                                                           showed Bailey with football tucked under his arm as he ran up the sideline, others his infectious smile.
They all agreed: his smile was what they remember about him most. That, and his drive for a better life.
Vitorino said if Bailey had continued to grow in the classroom and on the football field, he would have ended up getting to university.
“He understood what a student-athlete was,” added Davis, who fought back tears. “He had the potential to be great. Now we will never know.”
Toronto District School Board support staff were at the school Monday morning to help students and teachers cope with the loss, Freeman said.
“We’re trying to give them opportunity to breathe, Freeman said of the grief a number of students were feeling.
On the corner of the table where Davis sat was Freeman’s jersey, folded neatly. White sports tape was wrapped are the back of the jersey, to keep it tight during games.
The jersey will be signed by the team and given to Bailey’s mother and family.
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