A North Carolina high school student who died during the school year will not be memorialized at the school's graduation ceremony, despite her family's request.
Rachel Rosoff, 17, was fatally electrocuted while serving as a lifeguard at a swimming pool in September 2016, reports the Daily Mail.
Her parents appealed to William G. Enloe Magnet High School to recognize their daughter at graduation time, but the school rejected their request on grounds that it would be too much of a downer.
In an email to sent to the girl's mother, Michelle Schwartz Rosoff, Principal Will Chavis explained the school's decision:
I have spoken with leaders at the district office regarding your inquiry and request. The stance of the district continues to be that we refrain from memorials at the Graduation Ceremony. 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. A memorial of a lost/loved one has potential to cause students (or others) to react in ways that would take trained professionals (i.e., counselors) to support -- we cannot assure that at such an occasion. Consequently, we will not have a memorial at the graduation ceremony.
Rachel's sister, Jordana Rosoff, started a petition on Change.org in an attempt to reverse the decision.
"This is so hurtful and wrong," she explained. "I just want my sister to be recognized and acknowledged for the beautiful, goofy, funny, care free, caring person she was. She lived her life in a way we can all learn from, she was truly exceptional. ... They want to pretend she did not exist, which not only hurts me, but my family and her friends."
Fellow student Alissa Brasington also voiced her disagreement with the school's position, reports WRAL.
"I think we are old enough to be okay and understand what is going on," she said. "I think we'll be okay if they mention her. It will actually be better than if they don't mention her."
Alissa also mentioned that Rachel was heavily into theater and dreamed of one day writing for comedy show "Saturday Night Live."
Rachel's parents are suing two companies, claiming that they are responsible for faulty wiring that caused their daughter's death at the pool in Raleigh, reports WTVD.
"They knew of discovered conditions which were dangerous at this pool, and they didn't correct them," claims their attorney, David Kirby. "This was a horrible death. She was paralyzed by the electricity, but she consciously drowned."
The electric shock that killed Rachel was caused by wires in the ground installed almost 40 years earlier, according to an inspection conducted by Wake County.