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Student stabbed at Renaissance Academy dies

The 17-year-old student who was stabbed inside a West Baltimore school died on Sunday night, police said.

Ananias Jolley died at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center nearly a month after he was stabbed in a classroom inside Renaissance Academy on Nov. 24.

Witnesses identified the suspect as Jolley's classmate, 17-year-old Donte Crawford, police said. Crawford was arrested later that day with what appeared to be blood on his clothes, police said, and he was charged with attempted first-degree murder in the stabbing.

Police said they would work with the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office to weigh levying any additional charges against Crawford.

"It's a tragedy any time we have someone killed in an act of violence, even more so when it's a child," the Police Department's chief spokesman T.J. Smith said in a statement Sunday night. "The fact that it happened inside of a school is even more disturbing.

A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who had visited Jolley in the hospital, called his death "particularly tragic."

"Our schools are supposed to serve as a zone of safety for our children, so this death is particularly tragic," the spokesman, Howard Libit, said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the student's family and friends in this difficult time."

A school police officer wrote in a report that he knew the two students and they "had previous known physical and verbal altercations" with one another.

Renaissance has metal detectors, and officials said they are trying to determine how the student got the knife into the school.

Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, president of the city school police union, said in November that the incident was a painful reminder of the purpose school police serve.

"We're renewing our position that our officer needs to be in our schools with all assigned equipment to stop a threat," he said.

The last time a student was killed at a city school was in November 2008, when 15-year-old Markel Williams was found stabbed to death at William H. Lemmel Middle School. A fellow student was convicted and sentenced to 50 years, with all but 20 years suspended.

Reached on his cellphone Sunday night, Jolley's stepfather, Kelvin Newby, declined to comment. He has said he didn't know what caused the fight.

"Everybody love him," Newby told The Sun in November. "It's the area of the city. Look where they live at. It's the projects."

Jolley, a junior, liked school and was on the robotics team at Bluford Drew Jemison Stem Academy West, Newby said. He was the second-eldest child in his family.

Jolley and Crawford were among 95 students being mentored at Renaissance, which serves predominantly male, at-risk youths. The youths take refuge on the third-floor of the sprawling building from a neighborhood riddled with poverty and crime.

In the school's mentoring program, dubbed "Seeds of Promise," the two students were offered support and guidance in various aspects of their lives, including how to productively settle conflicts.

Principal Nikkia Rowe, who is in her third year at Renaissance, said last month that the incident is driving her to redouble her efforts on behalf of the program's students.

"We don't need judgment as a school community," Rowe said. "What we need is for more people who have a sense of urgency who are passionate about the next generation like my staff to not sit around and judge, but to positively contribute to change the outcome."

She called both of them "my boys — I love both of them."

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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