FREEPORT (WREX) — Two memorial stones honor two former students at Freeport High School who were murdered, but now the district wants them removed.
Five months ago, the memorial stones were placed near the football field at Freeport High School to honor Shaun Bradbury and Kyle Tucker.
"They were dads, sons and husbands," Danielle Rogers, their former classmate, says. "[They were] devoted to Freeport athletics [and] huge Pretzel fans."
The former Freeport student-athletes were murdered while leaving The Cedar Inn on Feb. 3, 2019. To honor them, family and friends paid for and installed two memorial stones, one for each victim.
"They were tremendous athletes for the program," Rogers recalls while telling a story about Bradbury making a remarkable, game-winning catch.
The stones sit in the south end zone inside Pretzel Stadium, a stadium that also housed a dedication game last season. Before the game, the entire team walked over to the stones and touched them to pay tribute.
But Freeport School District 145 now says the stones need to be removed. In an email from Superintendent Anna Alvarado, the memo reads:
"The stones were installed without prior knowledge and approval of the Board. It is our understanding that the person(s) contacted about acceptance and installation was not authorized to approve either acceptance or installation."
Rogers blames the school for the miscommunication.
"There's internal things that need to happen [and] there was obviously a breakdown in communication that shouldn't involve the families at all at this point, or those monuments," Rogers says. "They just need to handle it internally."
And because Rogers feels strongly and has a connection to the monuments, she started an online petition to keep the stones at Pretzel Stadium. She also has a message for the school district.
"This was a bad choice and, sometimes, the right thing to do isn't what's on paper, but what's in your heart," Rogers says. "I would ask them to reconsider this."
At the time this article was written, the online petition had almost 3,000 signatures. Rogers says she plans to deliver it to the school district.
The school board's next meeting is on Feb. 4, one day after the one year anniversary of Bradbury's and Tucker's deaths.
13 News did reach out to the school board and Superintendent Alvarado with additional questions and an interview request, but neither returned our repeated requests for comment.