A North Carolina high school rejected a family's request to have their 17-year-old daughter, who died late last year, included in the graduation ceremony.
The parents of Rachel Rosoff, who was electrocuted in a pool while lifeguarding in September, asked William G. Enloe Magnet High School to recognize their daughter during the ceremony -- but the school said it was inappropriate.
Michelle Rosoff, Rachel's mom, took to Facebook to share the email Principal Will Chavis sent her. He said that acknowledging the deceased student would make students "react in ways that would take trained professionals (i.e. counselors) to support."
"Because Graduation is meant to be a ceremony for students' accomplishments and a celebration thereof, we want to ensure that the ceremony maintains a happy, vibrant feel," he wrote.
Jordana Rosoff, Rachel's sister, launched a petition on Change.org to try to convince the school to reconsider.
"They feel it may cause sadness and bring people down on a day that is suppose (sic) to be celebratory," she wrote. "They want to pretend that she did not exist, which not only hurts me, but my family and her friends."
The petition has since received nearly 10,000 signatures.
Student Alissa Brasington told WRAL that she disagrees with the school's reasoning for leaving Rachel out of the ceremony.
"I think we are old enough to be okay and understand what is going on," Brasington said. "I think we'll be okay if they mention her. It will actually be better than if they don't mention her."
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