School board votes to create new policy for student memorials - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

School board votes to create new policy for student memorials

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DADE COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - Students at Dade County High School want to honor a classmate who died. The teen's family raised money for a monument to the young man, but now the school board wants to take a closer look.

Superintendent Cherie Swader said there will be some kind of monument to honor Stephen McCormick, a 17-year-old senior who died last year. But the schools now want to draft a policy on memorials first, which could affect the idea the teen's family had in mind.

"It's something that would be a positive thing from a tragedy," said Wayne McCormick, who just wants to honor his son, Stephen.

The teen was well-liked and the quarterback of the football team.

"After this happened, we wanted to put a memorial at the football field to honor him," McCormick said.

The school OK'd the idea of a memorial, so Stephen's family drafted the idea of a 3 ft. x 2.5 ft. stone monument. But on Monday, the Board of Education voted that a district-wide policy must be put in place first.

"My question was, there's already memorials at the school, so why do we have to have a policy now?" McCormick asked.

"There should have been a policy or procedure in place prior to this, but there never was," Swader said.

There are several memorials around campus for other students who have died.

"The board felt like there needed to be some consistency and some guidelines placed on what types of memorials would be placed," she said.

Swader is researching other school districts' policies and parameters for memorials on school grounds.

"There will be something in place for Stephen," she said.

McCormick said he'd be willing to alter the idea a little bit, but just wants to honor his son.

"It was something we wanted the football team to see and the public to see," he said. "The football team could touch it before each game to inspire the team and inspire the school in Stephen's memory."

McCormick's family wants the memorial up before next football season. The Board of Education hopes to have the new policy drafted soon.
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