Fearing for his life during an elementary school lockdown, a 12-year-old boy wrote a poignant goodbye letter to his parents, believing he may never see them again.
“Dear mom, right now I am scared to death,” Ajani Dartiguenave wrote in the handwritten letter. “I need a warm soft hug and I will miss you … and I hope that you will be okay with me gone.”
“Dad, I am sorry for [embarrassing] all of you because of my behavior. I hope that all of [you] live long. I don’t know if I will see [you],” Dartiguenave – by all accounts a conscientious student studying at Governor’s Village STEM Academy in Charlotte — wrote in a letter likely written in haste and containing some spelling errors.
The letter deeply upset his mother.
“I was so shocked,” Claudia Charles told ABC News in an interview, in which she said she had yet to learn from school officials what prompted the lockdown.
“No parent should have to read a letter that their kid wrote — thinking they were going to die,” Charles said at another point during the interview.
She also said it has complicated her efforts to console her son.
“I don’t even know what to tell him to make him feel better about what happened because we don’t even know [what happened].”
Ajani and his friends prayed for their lives during the lockdown, his mother said.
“He was so upset and his friends were crying, and they thought they were going to die — and they were praying.”
Charles said her son began to fear for his life after hearing on the news about school shootings, and was especially rattled when a student at a nearby high school was fatally shot about two weeks ago.
A spokesperson for Governor’s Village STEM Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
However, a spokeswoman for the school district’s Board of Education said she could not verify the identities of any of the school’s students, but acknowledged that the school was locked down for about 35 minutes last Friday, following a report of a possible threat.
She said no gun or weapon was reported on school grounds the day of the lockdown, but that the school had to respond to even a hint of a threat to best protect the students.
“The school received a rumor of a threat,” said Renee McCoy, Executive Director of Communications for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. “The threat was checked out by law enforcement and deemed not credible.”
“The safety and security of all students and staff at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is top priority. All efforts are being made to ensure a safe learning environment for all students and staff,” McCoy said.
McCoy encouraged any student who had concerns to speak with a school psychologist
“Social and emotional support is also available at any school for any CMS student who feels he/she would like to speak to a school psychologist about their experiences”.
Charles said she bought Ajani a phone so he could call or text her if something ever happens.
“Now I realize that you know it’s getting closer and closer like my kids are more affected by it,” Charles said.