Graduation is fast approaching for Haysville High School students, and some of them want a former classmate remembered at the event.
One of these friends, Kayla Shipman, actually started an online petition to Campus High School to recognize Tommy-Ray Hutchins this Sunday. It’s almost a year ago that he took his own life.
She says it’s reached close to 1500 signatures, but the school is standing by its policy to not announce names of students at graduation who have passed away.
“He was just standing there smiling at something behind my car, so I just took his picture,” said Kayla Shipman, Wichita.
Looking at photos and videos of Tommy-Ray Hutchins is how Kayla Shipman and others try to cope with the loss.
“If you could describe people as a color he was yellow, and he was a ray of sunshine,” said Shipman.
“It’s still something I think about, I think about him, the majority of the day, everyday and it’s just a loss incomparable to anything I’ve ever felt,” said Austin Scott, student.
It’s for this reason that they want the Campus High School student remembered with a moment of silence at graduation. KSN talked to his parents and the family he was staying with at the time who all agree that Tommy’s name should be heard.
“Nobody should have to ask, these kids lost one of their friends, it shouldn’t be that their parents have to call and request a tree in the courtyard of the school they should just give them the thirty seconds of graduation, said Shipman.
We asked Campus High School about it and they said they don’t announce the names of students who have passed away at graduation. They said many years ago they developed a protocol that provided a tree to be planted as a memorial at the family’s request.
But his friends believe that’s not enough.
“I have some harsh feelings towards the school about the whole thing in general, and I don’t know I just feel like they could at least do something for him, more than what they’ve offered,” said Scott.
For the classmate they lost almost a year ago.
“The school just needs to give him thirty seconds of their time,” said Kayla Shipman, Wichita.
On this petition, students, friends, and family members were able to share why they wanted to sign it.
Some people said it’s the right thing to do, and that any classmate that dies should be remembered the same way.