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Community rallies behind 2 deceased Byrd High students after school initially denies request to honor them

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:58 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The community rallied behind two Caddo Parish students who died before they could walk across the stage. Mackenzie Jewitt and Brianna Sutton both went to Byrd High School.

During the first week of May, the principal at Byrd initially denied their families’ requests for the girls to be honored with empty chairs and for their names to be mentioned during graduation. After public outcry, Caddo Parish Schools adjusted its policy. The school then agreed to honor both girls. Mackenzie’s parents say this is about having compassion.

Members of the community walked down Line Avenue in Shreveport, La. on Monday, May 9, 2022 to...
Members of the community walked down Line Avenue in Shreveport, La. on Monday, May 9, 2022 to show their support for two deceased Byrd High School students.(KSLA)

“This was something that was very important to us, being able to see our daughter walk across the stage. Without her being here, we want to be able to do that for her. Letting everyone know that it’s okay to be sensitive. In our grieving, this is not something we wanted to have to deal with, it’s not, but we had to just to make sure that she’s honored,” said Raylette Pinkston, Makenzie’s mother.

Brianna’s parents say they’re still working with the school to solidify plans to honor her. At the end of the day, the community made sure to rally behind these families to show their support.

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