School reverses ban on memorial shirts for late student

Nov. 12, 2013 at 3:20 PM
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LAKEVIEW, Mich., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A Michigan middle school has reversed its ban on T-shirts memorializing a sixth-grader who succumbed to leukemia during the weekend.

Parents of Lakeview Middle School students said about a dozen classmates of sixth-grader Caitlyn Jackson, 12, who died Saturday after a long battle with cancer, made custom T-shirts in honor of the girl and wore them to class Monday, The Battle Creek (Mich.) Enquirer reported Tuesday.

The students wearing the shirts were told by officials to change the shirts, turn them inside-out or cover up Caitlyn's name.

"That hurt me to the point that I didn't think I could be hurt anymore," Melinda Jackson, Caitlyn's mother, said of the ban Monday evening.

Amy Jones, the Lakeview finance director acting as district chief while Superintendent Dave Peterson is out of the country, said the decision not to allow memorial shirts was made Sunday night, but parents were not notified.

Jones said the ban was based on the district's "crisis management plan," which bars "permanent memorials" due to their serving as reminders of students' grief. She said the policy is "based on a lot of research and expert opinion."

However, officials reversed the policy and said the shirts would be allowed Tuesday.

"Certainly the intent of our decision was good," Jones said. "Probably the ramifications of our decision caused more disruption than if we had let kids wear the shirts in the first place."

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