Inside Edition

George Floyd's Former Teacher Kept One Of His Essays: 'It Just Breaks My Heart'

A retired Texas elementary school teacher has come forward to reveal that not only did she teach George Floyd in the second grade, but she's also kept one of his essays for all these years, and now she's sharing his heartbreaking words with the world.

In 1981, educator Waynel Sexton shared her classroom at Frederick Douglass Elementary school with 8-year-old Floyd, who penned a particularly emotional paper about what he dreamed his life would be once he grew up.

Back then, Floyd went by his middle name "Perry," and had some pretty lofty career aspirations for himself.

Unsplash | munshots

In an interview with CNN, Sexton produced a photocopied paper she says Floyd wrote back in the second grade for an assignment.

“One of my favorite memories of Perry involves his report for Black History Month,” she explained. “Each day in the month of February, we studied a different famous Black American, and as a culmination to that study, I posed the question to my students: How will you impact the future? What will you do to make a difference?"

Each student wrote a paper titled, "Future Famous Americans" in which they described their aspirations.


Floyd's paper read,

"When I grow up, I want to be a Supreme Court Judge. When people say 'your honor, he did rob the bank,' I will say 'Be seated.' And If he doesn't, I will tell the guard to take him out. Then I will beat my hammer on the desk."

As Sexton told Insider Edition, "We couldn't have known that the 8-year-old who was writing this essay was going to have such a profound impact on justice."

Beside the text, Floyd included a hand-drawn picture of himself sitting behind the bench, gavel and all.

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When asked what compelled her to hang onto a child's essay for more than 38 years, Sexton replied that each year her students completed two or three big projects, and she always made sure to keep one of them. Often, it was the papers produced during this Black History project that she ended up keeping.

After teaching at Douglass for 24 years, Sexton says she has hundreds of papers from her past students, Floyd included.

In a now-private Facebook post, Sexton reportedly said she was "heartbroken" over Floyd's death while in police custody.

Unsplash | Julian Wan

"[I felt] a really deep down sadness," she said, as per the The New Yorker. "I think so many of us have had that response. Just devastation and sadness. Just a really deep down sadness... My heart breaks for his family."

"How could we have known that the little boy, the little 8-year-old who drew this precious, delightful picture about justice and wanting to be a justice, 38 years later would be —his life would be taken?" she continued. "How could his dream have turned into the nightmare of being murdered by a police officer? It just breaks my heart,”

In that same post, Sexton described her former student as being a quiet, shy little boy.

"He was quiet, he didn’t talk a lot," she wrote. "He was already that long, lanky little boy. We did a lot of singing and dancing in our classroom, and he enjoyed all of that. He enjoyed his friends. And he was a good boy. He was a delight to have in the classroom."

Although he never achieved his dreams of becoming a Supreme Court Justice, Sexton said he will always be remembered “as a man who changed America."

h/t: CNN, Insider Edition, The New Yorker