Slain teacher prompts school to prepare for grieving students

by: Dave Faherty Updated:


NEWTON - Students at Discovery High School in Newton will return to class with heavy hearts after the slaying of a beloved counselor.

On Monday, 170 students will return to the school where Maggie Daniels was a counselor.

“We are going to first and foremost take care of our students. One of the things that makes all of this so difficult on us is the fact that the purpose of our school we foster very close relationships with staff and students,” said Principal John Robinson.

When students return, Robinson plans on talking about Daniels at the first assembly Monday morning. There will also be extra counselors on hand to help the teenagers.

One painful reminder is how close the homicide scene is to the school. Daniels’ apartment can be seen through the trees, with the front entrance to Discovery High within walking distance from where she lived.

The superintendent said the decision to relocate the school to its current location was made in 2012. The principal said the location of the murder is not as important as the memories the staff and teenagers have of Daniels.

“It is still painful to talk about it, but our attention now as professional teachers do is they turn toward the students because they are our biggest concern,” Robinson said.

There are plans to build a memorial garden in the courtyard at the school in Maggie Daniels’ honor. The school district wants the students who knew her to help.

“We wanted to have them heavily involved in that, because obviously it will be a piece of their grieving as well,” said Assistant Superintendent Aaron Gabriel.

A Grand Jury indicted Sharman Odom, the man accused of killing Daniels, earlier this week. Odom faces first-degree murder, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping charges.

Investigators believe he kidnapped and sexually assaulted Daniels before her death. Odom lived a few doors away from Daniels’ apartment.