KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The first day of school can bring a mix of emotions, but one young girl had a lot of support.
Kissimmee police is making the day a little easier for Sofia Baxter.
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“She was very excited and nervous. She did shed a few tears, which made mommy very emotional as well,” said Sadia Baxter, the girl’s mother.
The 5-year-old was surrounded by family and Kissimmee Police Department officers as they walked her through the front doors of Laureate Park Elementary School.
“It is extremely emotional,” Baxter said.
Baxter said this marks a milestone as her youngest daughter starts kindergarten. While it is a big day, she also acknowledges a huge loss.
“It should be a day that their daddy is here to walk them, but he’s not here and we’re so grateful for the love and support,” Baxter said.
This month marks 5 years since Sofia’s father, Kissimmee police officer Matthew Baxter, and Sgt. Sam Howard were on patrol in a neighborhood when they were shot to death. Their killer, Everett Miller, was sentenced to death earlier this year.
In the months following the sentencing and on the first day of school, Baxter said she is teaching her three daughters a lesson.
“I’m going to teach my girls about forgiveness and yeah as I continue to watch them grow into beautiful young women, as a mother my goal is to teach them to learn to let it go and forgive,” Baxter said. “Things that were done were not right, but we can control our emotions and forgive.”
While the family wished their father was walking beside them, Baxter said she is thankful for everyone’s support.
“This is our home. Having a community and a law enforcement family that supports us and loves us makes these milestones so much more bearable, so we’re just so grateful,” she said.
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