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Students remember classmate’s compassion

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Students and staff at Southside Elementary grieved the loss of an 11-year-old classmate who was killed in an accident Thursday night, but they also remembered him for the energetic, compassionate and dancing boy he was.

Cameron Briot was a fifth-grader at the school and part of “Team Discovery.”

Teachers and students remembered him as “a very loving child and very quick to give a hug.”

Teacher Kelly Beasley said Cameron loved Dance Party Fridays, and she remembers him playing air guitar and dancing to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

“He really knew how to dance,” one student said. “He would just jump out of his chair and dance.”

Another student said Cameron was a great encourager.

Principal Jeff Backmeyer said administrators met Thursday night and into the morning and sent information to families and teachers through an email list. The letter provided the basic factual information and let them know what resources would be available at school.

Five counselors — four from other elementary schools in the district — were available to talk with students, and Backmeyer said they were being utilized.

School staff waited outside the school for the bus that Cameron would have ridden to support the students as they walked into the building.

The fifth-grade teachers and students got together Friday morning to talk about what happened.

Backmeyer said they talked about Southside expectations and life skills, which call for students to respect each other and care for each other.

“Those are two wonderful things to have as you’re faced with tough times,” Backmeyer said.

“We want students and families to know we care about them. We want this to be a place that they know that we care and they are safe,” he said.

Investigators said Cameron was driving a four-wheeler, coming out of a field on County Road 200W north of County Road 100N, when the all-terrain vehicle collided with a southbound motorcyclist, according to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

The motorcyclist involved in the accident, Brian Snyder, 45, of Columbus, was listed in critical condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He was driving a 1999 Kawasaki.

Snyder was wearing a helmet, according to sheriff’s department spokesman Lt. Kraig Weisner. Cameron was not wearing a helmet, Weisner said.

Following the collision, the ATV stayed on the roadway and the motorcycle came to rest in the nearby field, Weisner said. Both drivers were thrown from their vehicles in the collision, he said.

Cameron was declared dead at the scene of the accident by Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher. He suffered massive head trauma, Fisher said.

Assistant Managing Editor Julie McClure contributed to this report.

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