Fallen Fairburn officer’s children get escorts for first day of school

Officers escort Jonathan Astree to his first day of first grade. The boy's father, a Fairburn police officer, was recently killed in a crash.

Credit: Douglas County school

Combined ShapeCaption
Officers escort Jonathan Astree to his first day of first grade. The boy's father, a Fairburn police officer, was recently killed in a crash.

Credit: Douglas County school

Their father was a hero. Sgt. Jean-Harold Astree served 29 years in the Air Force before beginning his career in law enforcement.

Last week, the beloved Fairburn police officer was killed in a crash. This week, his children began milestone years at school, first and 11th grades. Fellow officers escorted Astree’s daughter and son to their classrooms on the first day of school in Douglas County.

“The children were not able to have their father, who normally escorts the children to school on their first day, with them,” Fairburn Deputy Chief Anthony Bazydlo told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Although we can never replace him, we can stand in honor of him.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Fairburn officers pose with the children of Sgt. Jean-Harold Astree before the first day of school Wednesday in Douglas County.

Credit: Douglas County schools

Fairburn officers pose with the children of Sgt. Jean-Harold Astree before the first day of school Wednesday in Douglas County.

Credit: Douglas County schools

Combined ShapeCaption
Fairburn officers pose with the children of Sgt. Jean-Harold Astree before the first day of school Wednesday in Douglas County.

Credit: Douglas County schools

Credit: Douglas County schools

It was the latest example of the metro Atlanta officers stepping up to support a fallen colleague’s family. In May, Cobb County officers attended the high school graduation for Kaylee Smith, whose father died in the fall from COVID. More than a dozen uniformed officers lined the football field at North Paulding High School.

Wednesday morning, Fairburn officers escorted Astree’s daughter, Laurali, to Alexander High School, as well as her little brother, Jonathan, to his first day at Mason Creek Elementary School. The little boy clasped an officer’s hand and the two walked down a school hall lined with other officers.

ExploreAfter officer’s death, his colleagues escort his daughter at graduation

Astree died at the scene of the July 28 wreck on Capps Ferry Road just south of Brookcrest Court shortly before 8 a.m., a Georgia State Patrol spokesperson previously said. Astree was off duty at the time of the crash, police said. In addition to his children, he is survived by his wife, mother and brother, according to his obituary.

For Astree’s widow, it was important for the children to return to some normalcy, even after losing their father days ago.

“I really wanted them to not miss the first day,” Kerry-Ann Astree said Wednesday afternoon.

For young Jonathan, it was especially not hard not to have his father posing with him for first-day photos. The 7-year-old loved having officers escort him, his mother said.

“Our officers will be there to support them long into the future due to the long-lasting impact Sgt. Astree left on us,” Bazydlo said. “The Astree family will always be part of the Fairburn Police Department family.”

The funeral for Astree will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at LifeGate Church in Villa Rica.