Students from Reynolds Secondary are pushing to preserve the memory of their classmates who tragically passed away, after a dedicated memorial page in their honour was allegedly shut down by the school district.
A change.org petition created by grade 12 students states “the Reynolds admin has refused to put a page in the yearbook to honour three students who would have graduated this year.”
Ly Coey, a grade 12 student, told CHEK News over the last four years the 2023 grad class lost classmates Kaydence, Jesse and Gavin.
She said Gavin lost a battle with cancer in early December 2019.
Kaydence died after he was hit by a vehicle in a crosswalk in 2021.
Coey said Jesse passed away about one month after Kaydence’s death.
She added she had dated Kaydence for more than two years and was friends with Jesse and Gavin for a significant amount of time as well, as were many others in their graduating class.
“It was sort of like a community of someone your age died and that’s a little weird,” Coey explained.
All three students had memorial pages in the yearbook the year they died, but Coey said because this year is their graduation they wanted to do it again.
She explained the yearbook committee drafted a memorial page to put next to the student’s graduation pictures as a way to honour those who should be crossing the stage with them in June, but the idea was shut down by the Greater Victoria School District (SD61), saying it was due to district policy.
“Which is kind of weird, especially when it’s their graduation year,” Coey said. “I don’t think it should matter when they passed away because it’s significant to them and their families regardless of how long ago it was.”
A group of students started the online petition, which had more than 1,400 signatures by Saturday afternoon.
Coey said the goal was to get the school district to reverse their decision.
“We have one week before they print our yearbooks,” Coey added.
The petition has been supported by the family of one of the deceased students.
In a statement to CHEK News, Crystal Bourque, Kaydence’s mom, said “I personally think this is a kind gesture and also a healing one for the students to be able to recognize and honour their friends they have been grieving.”
She added if the yearbook committee receives permission from the families to print something, then it should be allowed.
CHEK News reached out to the SD61 for comment but has yet to receive a response.