Jorge and Maria Gough know all too well the pain of losing a child to violence at school. As families prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving, they offer their condolences to the family of 13-year-old Lourdes Guzman, who was shot to death on a school bus Tuesday.
“It happened to you. It happened to us, too. Just hang in there,” Jorge Gough said.
It was February 3, 2004, when a smart, cerebral 14-year-old Jaime Gough was lured into a bathroom stall at Southwood Middle School in Palmetto Bay and stabbed to death by a classmate.
Eight years later, his parents recall the chilling phone call they received from school authorities reporting that their son had been killed.
“And, was just so early in the morning in which you send off your kids to school. And, in an hour or later: that call. I really just feel so bad for the parents,” Gough said.
The Goughs said they feel the pain of Guzman’s heartbroken mother, who said on Wednesday that she could not understand how a gun made it onto her daughter's bus. The Goughs still struggle with how a student was able to bring a knife into their son’s school.
“We all have to take responsibility. School, kids, parents, and, try to do better,” Gough said.
The couple keeps photos of Jaime in their South Miami-Dade home as a reminder of the kind child who brightened their family. They now counsel other grieving families like them at their church, and are hoping to expand their services.
“What I can say to the parents: love the children in the right way,” said Maria Gough.
“There's no words that I can say to comfort you, but I just want to say I'm sorry. I truly will pray for each family,” Jorge Gough said.