NEW BROCKTON, Ala. (WDHN)—With the death of two New Brockton High School students two years ago, one can well imagine that the news of Anthony Bishop’s death in state prison has “spread like wildfire” in Central Coffee County.
Today, WDHN spoke with those in the Coffee County school system who were directly “impacted” by the deaths of the two young people in July 2020.
17-year-old A.J. Riley and 15-year-old Paula Perdue were killed in Houston County in July 2020.
The 57-year-old driver, Anthony Bishop, was driving under the influence when he crashed into the vehicle carrying the two students. Paula would have been a member of the “current” 2022-23 senior class if she was alive.
For Coffee County School Superintendent, Kelly Cobb, losing a student is the “most traumatic” and “sad” experience a teacher or administrator will ever experience. For a small community like New Brockton, a student’s death or death’s even takes on a greater period of grief.
Cobb says losing a child at any age is the toughest thing we have to do in a school system or school setting. Often we provide school counselors for our student body as well as our teachers and their immediate family members.”
Mike Gurspan says “New Brockton Principal Alonzo Barkley agrees with kelly cobb, that losing a student, in this case, two students has to be the worst possible moment for an educator, administrator, and everyone within the educational system.”
“Everybody grieves at their own pace, especially if they are closer to the person but the way the New Brockton community came together during that time, during that summer before school was very great as far as an administrator,” according to Barkley.
Department of Corrections officials says Bishop’s death appears to be from natural causes. He was found in his wheelchair in a prison bathroom.
It’s hoped an autopsy will determine what caused the death.