BUTTE — In this day and age, unfortunately, students feel the impact of gun violence no matter where they are. At East Middle School in Butte, one student’s life was forever shattered by a senseless act of gun violence.
Many students wore orange to bring awareness to gun violence and the importance of gun safety. Jayden Stevens wore a shirt honoring his father and uncle who were shot to death last year.
What is the message you want to get out with this shirt?
“Just that I’m representing my dad and my uncle,” said Stevens.
The death of his father, Chase Estabrook, and uncle, Brendan Estabrook, in January 2022 has been difficult for the 15-year-old eighth-grader.
“He’s an amazing kid that’s been through a lot and so I think this day really means a lot to him,” said Stevens’ teacher, Melissa Demarais.
Principal Keith Miller said student safety is a priority at East Middle and knows students worry about gun violence. He’s seen Stevens adjust and improve over the past year.
“He had everything taken from him and he’s worked hard, he’s had a great support system here at school, great support system outside of school. He’s a role model for kids on resiliency,” said Miller.
The teen’s perseverance also inspires those around him.
“Somedays I think, ‘Okay, if Jayden can do this, I can do this’. I can make it to the end of the school year, I can make it through hard things in my life because if he can do it, I can do it,” said Demarais.
Zachary Norman faces two counts of deliberate homicide in the shooting deaths of the Estabrook brothers and his trial is expected at Gallatin County District Court in Bozeman in July.