EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — The East St. Louis School District is mourning a 25-year-old elementary school teacher who was killed in a motorcycle crash.
DeMario May, a teacher at James Avant Elementary School, died at a hospital Tuesday morning after a crash at Collinsville Avenue and Broadway in East St. Louis, according to St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr.
"On behalf of the Board of Education and the entire East St. Louis School District 189 Family, we express our compassionate condolences to Mr. May's family, friends, students and colleagues," Superintendent Arthur Culver said in a statement to the school community.
May was an alumnus of the same school district where he taught, graduating from East St. Louis Sr. High School in 2015. Staff at Avant Elementary said he also taught fifth-grade English Language Arts and was a mentor and chairperson for the Kings Program.
The school district spotlighted him earlier this month during National Teacher Appreciation Week, commending his commitment to students.
"I choose to teach at James Avant Elementary School because it is my responsibility to make a difference in my community," May was quoted. "It is also my responsibility to be a positive example for my students as a product of School District 189."
The district activated its crisis team to offer support to students and staff in the coming days. The School Social Emotional Learning Team will also be available in person for Avant Elementary students and staff as summer school begins on June 5.
"Mr. May was a beacon of light that shined brightly. Our fervent prayers are with his family, friends, students and colleagues," Culver said.
May is the second elementary teacher the school district has lost in the past month. Crystal Bounds, a kindergarten teacher at Dr. Katie Harper Wright Elementary School in East St. Louis, was killed along with her brother on May 9 when they were struck by a car on Interstate 170.
Read the superintendent's full statement:
Dear School District 189 Families and Staff,
It is with heartfelt sadness that I inform you of the loss of a member of our school district family. DeMario May, James Avant Elementary School Teacher, died from a motor vehicle collision. Mr. May was also a product of East St. Louis School District 189 and was a member of the East St. Louis Sr. High School Class of 2015.
On behalf of the Board of Education and the entire East St. Louis School District 189 Family, we express our compassionate condolences to Mr. May's family, friends, students and colleagues.
The District 189 Crisis Team has been activated and is offering support to students and staff this week and beyond. To receive support, please email email@example.com and provide your phone number. A Crisis Team member will then return the call as soon as possible. The School Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Team will be available, in-person, for Avant Elementary students and staff who need ongoing support as summer school begins on Monday, June 5.
People react in different ways to tragedies. Please try to understand and accept the variety of emotions and behaviors that our students and staff may exhibit. The most important thing we can do is to be supportive and be good listeners. If you become aware of a student who needs additional support, please reach out to the Crisis Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The state-wide Safe2Help Illinois is another resource available to youth. Trained youth mental health professionals are available in real-time 24/7 to address youth in crisis. Always available. Always confidential. In English and Spanish.
Text: SAFE2 (72332)
Mr. May was a beacon of light that shined brightly. Our fervent prayers are with his family, friends, students and colleagues.
Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent