SHELTON, Conn. — The Shelton Board of Education has reversed its decision and decided to award an honorary diploma at commencement to the parents of a Shelton High School senior who died in a car crash in February, according to NBC Connecticut.
The decision came after a months-long fight by Ed and Barbara Conklin, who wanted their son, 17-year-old Edmund "Eddy" Conklin, 17, remembered at commencement for the family and friends to have closure. The school system had offered to honor him at the high school's awards night instead.
Conklin will also be memorialized with an empty chair at next week's graduation, according to the Connecticut Post. The high school will also honor Kristjan Ndoj, another member of the Class of 2016 who was fatally shot two years ago.
Shelton School Superintendent Christopher Clouet and Mayor Mark Lauretti informed the family of the decision in a meeting Tuesday, the Post said.
An online petition at Change.org drew over 8,000 signatures calling for Shelton school officials to present a diploma for Conklin at graduation.
"The family has ... been given the run-around on this issue since March. They have supplied the BOE with other towns and facts to support their wishes for the honorary diploma and his name called with his fellow classmates during graduation," the petition says in part.
"Sometimes we need to put politics and policy aside and do what is right. Setting a precedent to honor someone's child will never be the wrong thing to do," it says.
Conklin was a star basketball player at Shelton High and was only one course shy of his graduation requirements. He died early Feb. 28 in a rollover crash on Bridgeport Avenue. The crash remains under police investigation.
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