UPDATE: Kenosha Unified School District reverses decision on planned memorial for Kaylie Juga
Updated: 4:56 p.m. September 18, 2019
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Kenosha Unified School District has announced they will let students honor a classmate killed earlier this year.
The Bradford cheerleading squad will now be allowed to perform a special halftime performance for Kaylie Juga during Friday's football game.
See the updated decision from KUSD below:
"Upon further consideration, Superintendent Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis and Board President Dan Wade have decided to reverse the decision regarding memorials for Kaylie Juga. Upcoming events will be allowed to occur as planned."
Originally the district said they would not allow the memorial because they wanted to stay neutral and if they had a memorial for Kaylie, they'd have to legally allow one for Martice Fuller, Juga's ex-boyfriend who has been charged in her death.
The district's original decision sparked outrage on social media with thousands signing a petition and others threatening to pull their kids out of school on Friday, a day when attendance counts for state funding.
Posted: 9:06 p.m. September 17, 2019
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Plans to honor a murdered Kenosha high school student have been canceled.
The Bradford cheer team was going to remember 16-year-old Kaylie Juga at a football game Friday, but school officials won't allow it.
Kaylie's classmates want to honor her, but after talking to lawyers, the district said no. Now her friends are fighting back.
"I was so happy when I found out about it, and within 24 hours people ruined it for us," said Kaylie's friend Makayla Falcone.
Friends of Kaylie were shocked to find out the school won't allow them to honor her.
"I think it's really cowardice that they would even think about canceling it," said Jenna Tranberg. "I go to Bradford myself, and I didn't think we could ever stoop that low."
The district says some people also want to show support for the alleged shooter, and if they allowed one legally, they'd have to allow both.
Community response was swift after Kaylie's father took to social media.
"I feel like it's distasteful what's happening right now," said Theresa Munns, a friend of the Juga family. "They've taken away something that the community deserves, the school deserves, the students deserve, and Kaylie deserves."
Kaylie's father asked people to share their feelings with the district, and that's just what her friends did while confronting the board Tuesday night.
They say even if the event isn't allowed to happen, they will still remember their friend.
The district called this a difficult decision. They say while they won't allow the cheer team or players to memorialize, they won't stop students in the stands from expressing themselves.
The following is the Kenosha Unified School District's full statement:
The staff and students of Kenosha Unified School District, along with members of the Kenosha community, continue to grapple with the tragic shooting incident that occurred in our community last spring. In recent weeks and days, the District received requests from students, parents, and the general public, including representatives of both families, concerning the District’s position regarding memorializing or acknowledging the students involved. The District sought legal counsel with Lori M. Lubinsky, attorney with Axley Brynelson, LLP regarding these requests and has decided to follow the legal advice received.
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. Instead, the District will remain neutral. While the District fully supports students and staff in moments of crisis, it cannot allow memorializing or acknowledging one student without allowing it for both.
In addition, student-organized efforts will not be endorsed and/or supported by the District and/or its personnel. However, the District will not prevent students from memorializing or acknowledging those involved in their own ways, except when they are acting on behalf of or representing Bradford and/or the District (e.g. as an athlete, speaker, performer, etc.).
Many in the Kenosha community may not agree with this difficult decision, but the District asks that the public honor its decision as it works to take into consideration the well-being of all of its students - past, present and future.
In closing, the District cares deeply for everyone involved, and our thoughts are with all of the families, friends and community members impacted by this event.