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A HERO REMEMBERED

By Tom Dodge |

George is a new kid at Midlothian High School. He finds a friend named Greg. They play together after school.

But Greg and his friends do not like to ride bikes.

They do not trade baseball cards.

They do not go fishing.

No, they smoke marijuana. They like Satan and witches. George tells on them.

They kill George.

This is not a scenario for a typical children’s book, but it’s what people interested in fighting juvenile crime are asking for these days, says author Carlton Stowers. He’s written, and his wife Pat Stowers has illustrated, A Hero Named George, an attempt to help children understand the life and death of undercover officer George Rayfield. who posed as a student in order to investigate drug dealing at Midlothian High. He was murdered by a classmate in 1987. The book was published by the Community Justice Foundation of Texas with a grant from the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation, sponsors of “Sesame Street.”

Printed by Taylor Publishing Company, A Hero Named George is the first in a series of true-crime children’s books (grades 3-5) planned by the award-winning author from Cedar Hill, whose earlier book on the Rayfield murder is called Innocence Lost. “Who would have thought just a few years ago,” says Stowers, “that we would be faced with children murdering each other over drugs and running in gangs in Dallas?” Gangs will be the subject of the second book in the series, he says.

Called “Appleseed,” the series is the brainchild of Stowers and David Cannon, former Dallas County probation officer and now teacher of criminal justice at North Lake College and the University of Texas at Arlington. Part of the proceeds from the book will go to the George Rayfield Memorial Scholarship Fund at Midlothian High School, and part will be used for scholarships in criminal justice “to elevate the level of the criminal justice classes, which is necessary if we’re ever going to get a handle on this crime problem,” Cannon says.