Originally created 05/14/98

Slain officer may be honored



Pupils at Glenn Hills Middle School want to honor a slain hero by naming their gymnasium in his memory.

Michael Stephenson, shot July 16 when he responded to a burglary alarm at Jamestown Elementary School, was the first Richmond County school officer killed in the line of duty. He had been the school security officer at Glenn Hills Middle for only a year when he died.

In a letter to schools Superintendent Charles Larke, student council President Travis Brooks expressed what Officer Stephenson meant to Glenn Hills students.

"When we were in trouble, he pointed us in the right direction," Travis wrote. "In a world where deserving role models are scarce, Officer Stephenson was a man worthy of being emulated. When Officer Stephenson walked the halls of Glenn Hills Middle School, danger seemed far away."

The school already has established a club in his memory -- The Officer Michael D. Stephenson Good Girls and Guys Club. Now the students there want to give him a lasting tribute.

Tonight, Richmond County school board members will consider the students' proposal to name their gymnasium the Michael D. Stephenson Gymnasium in honor of their slain friend.

Dr. Larke said he anticipated unanimous approval by the board.

"The board policy clearly states you can name a facility after a deceased person, and this meets the board's guidelines," he said. "Normally if there's any opposition I'll get a call from board members, and I haven't heard anything. I don't think there will be any problem approving it."

The school board meets tonight at 7 for committee meetings and 8 for the regular meeting. The meetings, at the board offices on Heckle Street, are open to the public.