FREEPORT (WREX) — Two Freeport lawmakers are speaking out on the Freeport School District's decision to remove two memorials honoring former students killed last year in a shooting.
Sen. Brian Stewart (R) Freeport and Rep. Andrew Chesney (R) Freeport released statements in support of the families and friends of Shaun Bradbury and Kyle Tucker, two Freeport High School alumni killed in Cedarville in Feb. 2019.
"As a proud Freeport Pretzel, I join the families in calling for the School Board to reconsider and reverse their decision which the family and supporters believed were being installed through the proper channels and in good faith. There is no court decision, nor a heavy hand of government demanding this decision, perhaps except for the School Board," said Sen. Brian Stewart.
"As we approach the one-year anniversary of this tragic incident, neither the families nor the community agree with this terrible decision coming out of the Freeport School Board," said Rep. Chesney. "When bad decisions are made, we all have the ability as public officials to step back and ask yourself if what you're doing passes a common-sense empathy test. I think it's clear the Board should reflect here and reverse course," said Representative Andrew Chesney.
Freeport School District 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."
"Since this was not addressed in the leadup nor at the time of installation, and now almost 6 months later it's an issue and the grieving families just get told "to remove them". The Freeport School Board should simply revise its policies appropriately moving forward and let these memorials stand, or in the alternative, to designate a suitable location on the school grounds and to work with the families and the many other families of distinguished Freeport Pretzel Alumni who want to recognize their lost loved ones with similar type memorials." Stewart concluded.
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 on Jan. 22, but neither returned our repeated requests for comment.