Hi friends and family,I am writing you this in hope you can do me a large favor. As some of you know, I lost someone very close to me this week. A student of mine was taken from us in a violent manner. His name was Jason Mattison and he was a 15-year old student, whom I have had the privilege to teach through his 9th and 10th-grade years, since he arrived on our campus during the summer of 2008.
There has been extensive news coverage of Jason’s death over the past few days. He was brutally attacked, abused, fatally injured and left for dead. His attacker, a 35-year old previously convicted murderer, has been arrested, and will meet his doom in one way or another.
However, I am writing because not enough positive things have been shown about Jason. As is often the case, the majority of news has revolved around the graphic nature of his death and the circumstances relating to his attacker. Too often, we hear news that a young, black male from Baltimore City was killed and we think nothing of it.
Jason was not just another statistic! He was a lively, unique individual who brought smiles to the faces of countless people every day. Jason was an above-average student, who excelled in many areas of academics and social life. He dreamed of finishing his career here and moving on to college, medical school and then to his own pediatric office. God, how kids would have loved his big smile and booming voice! You need to simply look at his exotic dress, flare for the dramatic in class and with friends and talk to those who knew him to understand what a loss we have all been dealt.
Jason was in no way involved with gangs, drugs or weapons. He spent his time after school doing homework in teachers’ classrooms and hanging out with friends. His nightly routine of chatting on MySpace is the same one any of our kids have, and the same one as kids all across America. But for as “typical” as Jason seemed, he was so unique. He hated normal! He was different because he could be. He wore his skinny jeans and fashionable sweaters and blazers because it made him stand out.
I’ve included a few pictures of Jason as a way to expose what a great child he was, and to allow those who didn’t know him to see more than the news coverage allows. In my eyes, this tragedy has focused so much on the negative and what is truly being lost is what a great child we had the pleasure of being around. It hurts me to watch the news and see a murderer’s face and story being told and not that of Jason!!!!!Please do me a favor and honor Jason! I am asking that you simply forward this e-mail and pictures to everyone you know. I want Jason’s story to be told and I want everyone to see that we have lost an innocent child! And maybe more importantly, I want everyone to see how beautifully wonderful this child was!!!
Ryan C. Jones was Jason's teacher.