EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSLincoln County Students Hold Protest Over Memorial Ban
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Dave Benton
Videographer: Kenney Barnette
Web Producer: Dave Benton
Reported: Sep. 10, 2013 9:33 AM EDT
Updated: Sep. 10, 2013 9:52 AM EDT
Hamlin , Lincoln County , West Virginia
Lincoln County students and some parents continued to protest Monday because they said students are being banned from mourning the death of a friend at their school.
"We asked for a photo of him to be up with the rest of fallen students in the trophy case, for everyone to be recognized and treated equal," Shea Bell, a student at Lincoln County High School, said.
About five or six students were joined by several parents along Route 10 in front of the school for several hours to protest because they said the school will not allow students to place a permanent memorial at the school for Blake Dunlap, who died from a suicide. Last week, some demonstrated in the cafeteria after lunch.
School policy mandates that "a balance needs to be maintained between supporting the grieving process and not glamorizing or sensationalizing the death . . . the Board of Education reserves the right to accept or reject any and all memorials."
Some students said they believe it is unfair to prohibit a memorial because the school has had memorials or balloon releases in other cases.
On Monday afternoon, Principal Dana Snyder removed the other memorials in the trophy case and plans to meet with the suspended students Tuesday morning to discuss the situation.
The school system said it is reviewing possible disciplinary action against the students involved in the protests, but some of the students said they already have been punished, ranging from being suspended, to being banned from school dances to not being allowed to walk at graduation.
Meanwhile, some of the parents of students said they will wage their own protest at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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