A Baltimore third-grader who was killed when she was struck by a vehicle driven by a suspect fleeing police has inspired renovations at her elementary school.
Amirah Kinlaw was allegedly killed by a 14-year-old driving a stolen car in June. Her school, Steuart Hill, is dedicating its auditorium to her. (Photo via Gofundme.com)
Amirah Kinlaw was killed in June as she walked home from school and was hit by a 14-year-old suspect fleeing police in a stolen car. The teen initially eluded officers but was arrested by police within a day of the incident, the New York Daily News reported in June. He has not been publicly identified, but faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and a number of traffic offenses. Due to his age, by law he cannot be prosecuted as an adult, according to the Daily News.
Kinlaw was in the third grade at southwest Baltimore’s Steuart Hill Elementary, and her death has inspired school staff, community members, and her own stepfather to revitalize the school.
“Her spirit is here,” her father, Leon Carter, told The Baltimore Sun in the auditorium where his daughter walked for the end-of-year ceremonies. “There’s a lot of love in this room.”
Carter said he will sometimes stand and cry outside the elementary school at the sight of the stuffed animals and balloons that make up a memorial for his stepdaughter, but said he also finds comfort returning to the school. On Aug. 6, he joined members of the community to paint bright colors on walls and doors in the auditorium and other parts of the school. The project is a community effort to provide students with an inviting environment when they return to school later this month.
When Carter and his family arrived, they were equipped with paintbrushes and blue paint and asked to begin on the auditorium’s doors. A local artist from the neighborhood will paint the school’s mascot—an eagle—as well as the school’s motto, “Where Attitude Equals Altitude,” in the center of the auditorium. New carpet, lights, and curtains will be added to create the look of a formal stage.
In September, the school will dedicate the auditorium to Amirah, who loved to sing.
Assistant Principal Jeff Covington said the renovations were a way to get the community involved in the school. “School should be a place that is inviting to everyone,” Covington told the Sun while painting a wall.