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Published: Friday, 3/19/2004

Students hope to pay for Je'Juan's funeral

Chase Elementary School staff members have been counseling pupils and setting up a memorial fund to raise money for the funeral of a third-grader who was accidentally shot to death by another youth on Saturday .

"We can't deny what happened. We can learn from it," Principal Steven Riddle said yesterday.

Je'Juan Jordan, 9, was playing with a sawed-off shotgun with his cousin, David Harris, and two other boys at young Harris' North Toledo house when the illegal weapon went off. Je'Juan was shot in the head.

Young Harris' mother, Dorothy Irish, 53, of 2822 F St., was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Police said she saw the boys playing with the shotgun, didn't do anything about it, and left them alone while they were handling the weapon.

Mr. Riddle said school officials hope to plan a rally for parents on weapons awareness to learn "what we can do to stop this from ever happening again."

He said Je'Juan was a "wonderful student. He did the best backflips anyone ever imagined." Mr. Riddle and five members of the school's staff plan to attend Je'Juan's funeral today.

A memorial fund was set up to help defray the cost of the funeral. About $500 has been raised. Mr. Riddle said he hopes to raise $3,000 by the end of next week.

He said three schools are holding drives to raise money, including Sherman Elementary, which is doing a penny drive. He said an unknown boy raised $80 when he ran a lemonade stand at his church. The boy planned a similar fund-raiser at a Boy Scout meeting.

Any leftover money in the memorial fund will be used to plant a tree or acquire a stone or plaque in Je'Juan's memory at Chase Elementary, Mr. Riddle said.

Contributions to the fund may be made at any Charter One Bank in Toledo. Anyone with questions can call Chase Elementary or Charter One Bank.

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