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School Board Allows Yearbook Tributes to Teens Killed in Car Accident

After banning certain memorials to teens killed in car crash, school board votes to allow these tributes

A+part+of+the+Skutt+Catholic+yearbook+collection.
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School Board Allows Yearbook Tributes to Teens Killed in Car Accident

A part of the Skutt Catholic yearbook collection.

A part of the Skutt Catholic yearbook collection.

Photo by Gracie Killgore

A part of the Skutt Catholic yearbook collection.

Photo by Gracie Killgore

Photo by Gracie Killgore

A part of the Skutt Catholic yearbook collection.

Gracie Killgore, Staff Reporter

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After much controversy, the Centura school board in Cairo, Nebraska chose to allow yearbook memorials to two Centura High School girls killed in a car crash.

The school district previously rejected certain yearbook memorials dedicated to Bailey Jean Packer, 16, and Navi Nielsen, 17, who died due to an automobile accident in March. Parents and friends of the two offered to pay for tributes in the yearbook in order to honor and remember the high school juniors. The school district believed these tributes could affect the grieving process of juveniles.

School district officials said they were following district policy and the opinions of experts, such as John Dudley, an author and consultant on school crises from Lincoln. He believes it is important to clean out lockers and photographs of deceased students to allow for “finality” when grieving.

Family and friends were also disappointed when the district removed drawings and photographs from the school that were completed by Bailey.

On Monday, April 30, The Centura school board held a meeting attended by more than 100 people to discuss the issue regarding the yearbook memorials. Thirteen speakers spent an hour addressing their opinions on the issue, and each one of them persuaded the school board to allow yearbook tributes for the teen girls.

Some of the speakers included the girls’ parents, such as Cory and Stacy Nielsen, Navi Nielsen’s parents. Matt and Tara Schenk, who raised Packer since the fourth grade were also present and spoke at the meeting.

The board, with everyone in agreement, voted unanimously to allow the parents to purchase yearbook memorials of Nielsen and Packer. The girls can also be seen in photos of sports teams and other activities in the 2017-18 yearbook.

Skutt Catholic High School does not have specific policies set in place for situations similar to ones of the Centura school district. “When we do have a death in the community, we rely on a lot of people for help. We have had student deaths occur during the school year before, but it has been quite a few years ago now. Our guidance department leads the process. We typically reach out to other schools to provide counselor support, as having only three counselors is not enough for a school our size,” said Skutt Catholic principal Rob Meyers.

Meyers also said that each case would have to be viewed individually in order to decide the appropriate courses of action.

Gracie Killgore

Gracie joined The Flightline in January of 2018. She is a junior this year, involved in tennis, HOSA and FBLA . Outside of school, she enjoys online shopping, hanging out with friends and watching Netflix. You can email her at [email protected]

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School Board Allows Yearbook Tributes to Teens Killed in Car Accident