Scooby Doo was one of my students at Crenshaw High School. He was a 15-year-old African American Male in my 6th period English Class. Why do I remember Scooby Doo? Because he was an extraordinary and extremely intelligent young man.
On Thursdays, the students were assigned to write a five-paragraph essay on a topic that they were allowed to choose themselves. They would then be required to deliberate on these essays, and speak about them in front of the class. In one of Scooby’s essays, he chose to discuss why he thought people should remain a virgin until they are married.
During the discussion period, there was a lot of hulabaloo about Scooby’s chosen topic! One of the boys who was leading the discussion asked, “Well is there anybody in here who hasn’t had sex? So all of us are already in violation.” Scooby said, “I haven’t! I’m still a virgin.” Of course, all the girls ran to him immediately, and it was like bees coming to honey! They were so happy, they gave Scooby a standing ovation, clapping and cheering for him for over 10 minutes before I could get the class back under control. I said, “Now don’t take away his virginity, leave him alone!” It was really a fun, good day for all of us.
Scooby’s peers like him because he was always up front with his work. He could recite Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet perfectly. His favorite line from Romeo and Juliet was “Oh that I were a glove!” He was very outgoing and charismatic, and a very popular young man. Then, to find out he was a virgin? Oh wow! In our community, that was a big deal. On that particular day, after all of the cheering and love he received in class, he came up to me and said, “Ok Ms. Mama Hill (that’s what he called me), I’ll see you tomorrow!” I said, “Ok, watch where you cross the street and don’t talk to strangers.”
The next day, when I came to school and got off the elevator, there was silence on the floor. It was 7:35 am. Usually by this time, there was a lot of bustling noise, slamming lockers, and chattering among the students. As I walked to my classroom, everyone was sitting on the floor by their lockers, crying. I couldn’t imagine what it could possibly be, and I was scared to ask. When I got to the door of my classroom, one of the students ran up to me and said, “Scooby’s gone. Scooby’s gone. He got killed last night.” I could hardly get in the room to sit down. It was a horrible, horrible feeling. I still have trouble thinking about it. The whole school was silent all day.
Seemingly, Scooby had left the High School, and was on his way to some adult classes that he attended at night. Some gang members grabbed him, pulled him aside, put a gun in his mouth, and shot and killed him. Because they wanted his red tennis shoes. They wanted his red tennis shoes. They killed him.
It took me a long time to get through my grief. I didn’t go to the funeral or memorial service, because I just couldn’t do it. I did go visit his grandmother, and she told me “We’ve got one comfort. I donated Scooby’s eyes and organs, so he’s saving lives.” I thanked her, and I left thinking to myself, “at least Scooby is living on somewhere.” Still to this day, I haven’t gotten over that experience, over Scooby.
I feel that he was promised, and destined to be someone, but some boys who were hurting inside could not let him live, and destroyed him because of their pain. So the children that I help today, I do it for Scooby. If I can keep anybody from hurting someone else, or destroying something that’s beautiful, then I am doing my part for Scooby. This is for you, Scooby! I love you!