The murder of Dayvon Taylor, the 6-year-old first grade student at Normandie Elementary School, is still sending shockwaves throughout South Los Angeles.
Dayvon was allegedly beaten to death a day after Christmas by Tyler Martin-Brand, who met him through his job as an LAUSD after-school employee at Normandie Elementary School. Martin-Brand is currently being held in Los Angeles County Jail in protective custody on $2 million bail.
Taylor was laid to rest Jan. 11 with both sides of his family, friends and his classmates in attendance to say their last goodbyes. It was the saddest funeral I’ve ever attended in my life.
I watched as Dayvon’s classmates entered and took their seats. I immediately thought to myself these are little kids who should be playing outside, not saying goodbye to their friend.
I was asked by the family to be a guest speaker and I honestly didn’t even know what to say. How can you explain the murder of a 6-year-old child by a grown man who is supposed to be a protector of children? As I rose to speak, my heart just moved me to say how I truly felt and that’s if we’re going to try point the finger of blame at someone, let’s blame it on who it truly belongs and that’s Dayvon’s alleged killer Martin-Brand.
I was moved to see the mother’s side and the father’s side of the family come together as one, even if it was just temporary, to say goodbye to Dayvon. He deserved that much.
Our entire community should come together and as we continue to mourn Dayvon’s murder, we still have concerns and questions that need to be answered by LAUSD officials. There have been reports from other parents of the school that Martin-Brand had a history of violence and putting his hands on children he coached.
That isn’t just speculation. We called a press conference outside Normandie Elementary School Jan. 13, asking for parents to give us information on Martin-Brand and, sure enough, a couple of parents told me personally that Martin-Brand was abusive. The family and I are now wondering that if that information is factual how was this man able to continue to be employed and work with kids.
I do know based on the fact he’s been charged with murdering a child we have to ensure Dayvon’s murder wasn’t in vain. The family and I are calling upon the California Legislative Black Caucus to pass “Dayvon’s Law,” which would be a new state law that prohibits school employees from interacting and having any outside contact with children they work with at their respective schools.
As the fight for Dayvon’s justice continues, Dayvon’s family members and I went to Norwalk Court Jan. 16 where Martin-Brand’s arraignment was scheduled, but it was postponed to a future date. That was disappointing to us. But what was more disappointing was the reaction of some of Martin-Brand’s family members and supporters who disrespected Dayvon’s family members who were there and physically tried to attack this writer.
I’m grateful for the swift work of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who intervened. I understand Martin-Brand’s family frustration. But their threats of violence against me won’t stop me from publicly advocating for justice for Dayvon’s family.
They didn’t call me and say we want your help but keep it quiet. They said the exact opposite.
They want the entire city to know Dayvon’s life and value had meaning and their 6-year-old child was unjustly murdered by a grown man he was taught to trust.
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