Norris Board Statement on Memorials Policy

Norris Board Statement on Memorials Policy

Thursday, May 9, 2019
In recent days the Norris district's policy on memorials has come under scrutiny and been subjected to some harsh criticism on social media, mostly based on subjective social media posts and a television story omitting several key facts in the conversation.  To provide clarification, the district's Board of Education has released the following statement: Board Statement on Memorials Policy
 
Key facts about the district memorials policy:
  • The district has a longstanding policy on memorials, first adopted in 2001.
  • The district policy on memorials contains considerably more allowances for memorial gestures / observances than many other schools.
  • The full text of the policy is publicly available at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-ZxVyQg--pCmHG5-pNI0cZnue92dQNJCYXObpujHpWM/edit?usp=sharing
  • Recent modifications to the policy were made by the Board after hearing public comment input from, among others, April Jensen, the mother of deceased student Brianna Titterington.
  • The changes to the policy which the Board recently made actually allow for things that previously were not allowed. The policy now allows for a floral display in memory of those who could not be there, and a commemorative general statement in the commencement program. 
  • The reason schools generally (including Norris) do not incorporate individual memorials in graduation ceremonies are straightforward:
    • Doing so would establish a precedent that would be foreseeably problematic given the varying circumstances, situations and scenarios that present themselves with student deaths and class membership. The Board must make policy decisions on the basis of a sustainable precedent to incorporate a wide variety of situations. Many have suffered the loss of loved ones bearing different connections and affiliations to the district or families participating in commencement.
    • The purpose of commencement is a celebration of graduation.
  • In the case of the passing of student Brianna Titterington,  a variety of memorial gestures are underway that are recognized and encouraged by the district: 
    • Plans are underway for a memorial planting which would include a commemorative plaque.
    • A memorial scholarship has been established which will be facilitated through the Norris Foundation. You can donate with a check directly to the Foundation or through this GoFundMe page. April, the mother of Brianna, will have the opportunity to address attendees at this year's Senior Honors Convocation when the scholarship is awarded.
    • The above are explicitly authorized by policy.