The day after Michael Lamar Davis Jr. was struck and killed by a Norfolk Southern train, one Columbus elementary school continues to grieve.
Davis was the head custodian at Fox Elementary, a short distance from the tracks where his life tragically ended.
Davis may have been a custodian, but the 41-year-old was a father figure to many of the children in the school that serves the North Highland neighborhood.
The Muscogee County School District sent its grief counseling team into Fox Wednesday — 25 strong including Superintendent David Lewis. Counselors were there all day today. And they will be back tomorrow.
The school has 360 students and 75 faculty and staff. His death and the way he died has been a lot to process in a short time.
Davis had been the custodian for more than a year. Fox Principal Dr. Yvette Scarborough helped get him transferred to the school more than a year ago. It made sense to her because he had a son in the school and lived in the area.
“He was a dad to all the kids and he had a fourth-grade son here at the school,” Scarborough said. “And all of the kids looked up to him. Especially our young boys. The fourth-grade boys really took to him, as you would say. He would speak to them. He would encourage them. He would make sure they were doing the right thing when he saw they weren’t. He loved them just like a dad would.”
Percy Armour works with the Boys and Girls Club and was in the school with Davis every day.
“Greet him. How’s your family doing?” Armour said. “How’s that little princess of yours doing? He and I talked about our little girls all the time. That was our thing. And we just talked about life altogether. It wasn’t any certain topic. We would just walk and talk while he was doing what he had to do.”