ALBANY, N.Y. - It's been four days since the death of 8-year-old Sha'hiim Nelligan, a third grader at the Albany Community Charter School.
Police have charged his grandmother 43-year-old Gloria Nelligan with first-degree manslaughter for allegedly beating the boy, calling it excessive corporal punishment.
Even though Nelligan lived in Schenectady, he was enrolled here at the charter school in Albany as a third grader.
His principal, S. Neal Currie, describes Nelligan as a bright student with a bright future. "I saw Sha'hiim as somebody who really could have accomplished whatever he wanted to."
Currie says while Sha'hiim lived in Schenectady, his grandmother and legal guardian believed in charter schools, enrolling him at Albany Community.
He says Sha'hiim was an honor roll student, receiving all three's and fours on his report card.
"I remember him as a boy with a very strong vocabulary, he loved to write, he loved to write stories," says Currie.
Currie says he was shocked to not only learn of Sha'hiim's death, but the alleged circumstances around it.
"This is shocking news for all the staff here," says Currie. "She was a very involved parent and very responsive, so we were very surprised to hear. It's just a tragic situation. It's that way anytime anyone loses their life, but especially a child, and someone who had a bright future. It's just very hard to deal with the reality of it."
Schenectady police say Nelligan will re-appear in court on Friday for a bail hearing. She remains in the Schenectady County Jail.
Services for Sha'hiim Nelligan will be held at noon on Saturday at the Pilgirm Holiness Church in Schenectady.