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Shelton School Board Stands By Decision To Not Award Diploma At Graduation

Eddy Tyler Conklin
Eddy Tyler Conklin Photo Credit: Contributed

SHELTON, Conn. — The Board of Education stood by its decision at a meeting Wednesday to deny a request from the family of a student who died to give them a posthumous honorary diploma on his behalf at the Shelton High School commencement, according to the Shelton Herald.

The family of Edmund "Eddy" Conklin, 17, a senior who died in a car crash in February, had requested that his name be read at the graduation ceremony June 10 and that they receive an honorary diploma.

But school board Chairman Mark Holden has said that since 1980, only two of the 17 students who died before their graduations received posthumous diplomas at commencement and a third student's family received a diploma at home.

Nearly 75 angry family members and community members attended the meeting and begged the board to change its mind, the Herald said. 

The board has decided to award the family an honorary diploma at the Senior Awards Ceremony and hold a moment of silence at graduation for Conklin and Kristjan Ndoj, another class member who died in 2014.

Superintendent of Shelton Schools Chris Clouet said the school system was "not turning our back on the family,” the Herald said.

In a statement read on his behalf, Mayor Mark Lauretti supported the bid by the Conklins to receive a diploma at commencement, saying "It’s a time for common sense to prevail, what they ask of our school institution is reasonable and fair.”

An online petition at calling for Shelton school officials to present a diploma at graduation has drawn over 7,800 signatures.

"The family has ... been given the run-around on this issue since March. They have supplied the BOE with other towns and facts to support their wishes for the honorary diploma and his name called with his fellow classmates during graduation," the petition says in part.

"Sometimes we need to put politics and policy aside and do what is right. Setting a precedent to honor someone's child will never be the wrong thing to do," it says.

Click here to read the story at the Shelton Herald.

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