Cornelius Frederick | Michigan Radio
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Cornelius Frederick

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

One year ago, a 16 year-old boy sat in a cafeteria at a group home for teens in Kalamazoo and tossed a piece of bread at another boy. The adults in the room told him to stop. Smiling, he tossed another piece. An adult pushed him to the floor, and eventually seven other grown men held the boy down for 12 minutes. 

Cornelius Fredrick died two days later, his death ruled a homicide. 

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

I met Kyla James in her front yard on a hot day in the middle of a global pandemic. She sat in a chair in the shade of a tall tree, legs folded underneath her.

It had been almost three months since her former student – the one with the beautiful smile and the crazy good computer skills – was killed. Three months of knowing her coworkers were the ones responsible, that all of her former students had been traumatized by it.

She always knew Lakeside had problems. She thought she was helping make it better. Then she saw the report from the state documenting what happened. She learned about the years of violations at Lakeside.

“Even for someone working there, even seeing what I did in being there every day, it was still stunning,” James says. “It was stunning.”