In a surprise reversal, a Kenosha school district now says it will allow a planned tribute for a 15-year-old girl who was shot and killed earlier this year to go forward.
Bradford High School student Kaylie Juga was killed in early May, and her ex-boyfriend, 16-year-old Martice Fuller, is a suspect in the murder, accused of entering her home and shooting her and her mother.
Her friends on the school’s cheerleading squad were looking to pay tribute to her at a football game on Friday night with a specially-choreographed routine, which would have included bringing her picture on the field and holding a moment of silence.
The Kenosha United School District had denied the request.
“The District will not sanction any memorials or acknowledgements because it would be legally required to do so for all students involved in order to protect the District against possible legal claims,” the district had said in a statement.
Outraged students and parents went to the school board to demand that they change their stance after the decision.
“They can’t hold up a picture of a girl that was murdered that went to that school and was a cheerleader? That is sickening to me,” student Jenna Tranberg said at a school board meeting.
Prior to that meeting, Juga’s father took his outrage to Facebook, saying that he vehemently disagreed with the decision.
“I have been silent for way too long,” he said. “KUSD is not allowing them to wear a shirt, do the stunt, or have her picture on the field. My daughter was the one murdered! Nothing she did was wrong! Everyone let the KUSD school board and Bradford know how the community feels.”
A petition demanding that the district reverse its decision racked up nearly 5,000 signatures in less than 24 hours, and on Wednesday evening, the district reversed course, saying it will allow the tribute.
“Upon further consideration, Superintendent Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis and Board President Dan Wade have decided to reverse the decision regarding memorials for Kaylie Juga,” the district said in a statement. “Upcoming events will be allowed to occur as planned.”
Fuller pleaded not guilty to the murder in May, and is scheduled to face trial in the case in 2020. He faces felony charges of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and is being tried as an adult.