School Reverses Ban of Shirts Honoring Deceased Middle Schooler

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Photo courtesy Sara Arendt

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Lakeview Middle School reversed a school policy Monday that banned students from wearing shirts or other items meant to honor the recent passing of a sixth grade student.

Caitlyn Jackson passed away Saturday after a three-and-a-half year battle with cancer, according to officials at Lakeview.

The district’s crisis management team initially said that students could not wear clothing that displayed the name or photos of Jackson, citing past policy.  This sparked an intense community backlash.

“During this time of grief, we sincerely regret that our actions caused additional stress for Caitlyn’s family and friends,” a post on the district’s Facebook page read. “Today we heard from students and families the need to allow students to continue showing their support of Caitlyn under these special circumstances by wearing shirts bearing her name.”

Lakeview’s announcement also says that district staff met with Jackson’s family Monday afternoon before deciding to reverse the policy.

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  • denise fidler

    The schools need to back off and let the students grieve. They know what they need (in the moment) and they do it by either being silent, wearing a t-shirt, creating an art project or just screaming and crying to let it out. In time, some will want to talk about it and hopefully this school district will have 'experts' that have 'first hand' experience in guiding the school rather than their 'so called experts and board members who have no idea what the children need' Grief is best dealt with individually in each child's heart until they are ready. The 'concern' that the children should be protected from being reminded of their grief is ridiculous! They carry it with them all day long and will never, ever forget it. The worst thing you can do is hide or deny it-it must be dealt with when the child is ready. As for the children that don't need to be exposed to the grieving friends and their t-shirts; this is reality-having counseling available for them about being compassionate toward those that grieve would be in order.

    Kudos for our wonderful school system here in Syracuse, Indiana in 2009 that allowed not only a memorial service during school hours but also several youth pastors as well as our pastor to give a short sermon/talk about Harrison, life, God, dying etc. Then the youth praise band was able to play. Several friends wrote touching letters that they read and most mentioned God, Jesus, Heaven. this is how these students were able to get through this horrible death experience. They even got to wear t-shirts whenever they wanted and others got proactive and designed more and offered those. The more we talk about a loved one the better to keep their memory alive and this helps all of those involved in this short-lived precious life here on earth. Denise Fidler

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