A majority of school board members signaled Monday they didn’t wish to reconsider the district’s policy on memorials on school grounds.
The request to consider came from the Centerville High School class of 1989, as they were interested in placing a memorial which would honor classmates who have died.
Dustin Bozwell, a member of the class, presented Monday an idea that district could allow his class and other classes to erect similar monuments that allow for the memorializing of class members.
The monuments, he presented, could be along the walkway entrance to Simon Estes Auditorium and become a new tradition for the high school.
“It would be a sense of recognition of those who have graduated from this school, who are still part of the tradition of Centerville High School,” Bozwell said. “It would inspire the current students to realize that life is a gift — you need to use it to live and learn as much as you can. But it would also inspire alumni to stay connected to the spirit of Centerville High School — that we’re not just potential foundation donors, but there is a true bond between this school and alumni.”
Current school district policy on the matter, which was adopted in February 2011, stated in part that “school sites should not serve as the main venue for the memorializing of students or staff.” The policy continues that students or staff who die while attending the school or employed, or three months of graduating or ending employment, can be honored with an indoor memorial at the high school.
Otherwise, memorializing students or staff should be done through scholarships or perpetual awards, or other donations.
Centerville School Board President Marty Braster pointed to those suggestions outlined in the board policy for the class of 1989, and stated he was on the board when the policy was adopted and still agrees. With Braster, board members Brooke Johnson, Angela Ocker and Bob Thomas stated they also agreed with the current policy.
Board member Larry Heffron stated he didn’t feel there would be enough room for classes to place memorials.
Board member Mike Thomas stated he would consider it, but not until the district completes its review to determine the future construction on Centerville High School grounds.
“I think you give us very good rationale for having a memorial,” Mike Thomas said. “In light of the fact that we still haven’t decided what to do with the new building projects — we know we have to do something at the high school. Right now, that’s pretty much up in the air.”
The school board did not take formal action on the request, other than a verbal consensus that a majority supported the current policy as-is.
“I’m not here to say that we’re going to leave upset,” Bozwell said. “This was our idea, this is what we thought would be a great idea. ... But, there will be no ill-will if there’s no changes.”