Cornelius Fredericks | Michigan Radio
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Cornelius Fredericks

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.”

Courtesy of Jonathan Marko

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is issuing an emergency rule to ban child care facilities from using the type of restraint that led to the death of a 16-year-old in Kalamazoo. The agency says it will also require all licensed facilities to notify children’s families within 12 hours whenever any type of restraint is used, and notify the agency within 24 hours.

“We are moving toward the goal of ending the use of restraints in institutional settings,” said MDHHS director Robert Gordon. “Restraints are too often used as an easy way to control youth in place of the harder, but necessary work of evidence based practices that help young people address mental health challenges and heal and overcome trauma.”

Courtesy of Jonathan Marko

Attorneys for the family of Cornelius Fredericks have released the video documenting the 16-year old's death at a Kalamazoo youth facility. Fredericks died May 1 after being improperly restrained by youth facility staff. The Kalamazoo County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, and three staff members at the facility are facing criminal charges.

The video shows at least eight people participating in holding down Fredericks after he threw a sandwich in a cafeteria.