On Monday, May 7, staff received information from an email that senior Brayden Bisaillion died overnight and later passed that information on to students. A group of students set up a memorial for Bisaillion in the northeast corner of the Landing that morning.
“Brayden was one of our homies, and he deserves it just like anyone else does,” senior Edwin Udhus said. “We chose roses because his favorite color is red plus this corner right here is where he always stood during passing periods.”
In response to the memorial, according to Udhus, administration approached the students and told them they would have to take it down at the end of the day.
“Opperman came and told us that we have to take it down, I asked him where it was in the guidebooks or the rules and he said that it’s not in there, so there’s no reason for him to be taking down our stuff,” Udhus said.
Principal Jay Opperman said that there isn’t anything in the student handbook about memorials, however, school districts receive guidance from experts on how to handle the death of a student.
“[Memorializing is] discouraged because there’s fear that when you memorialize deaths someone else may interpret that in a negative way and maybe something bad happens,” Opperman said. “So schools are really given guidance by experts to not have memorials related to student death.”
After reviewing district procedures over crisis and student death, Opperman said administration will allow the students to set up the memorial during the day as long as it is not disrupting the function of the school, then will take it down at the end of each day. The temporary memorials can continue only up to the day of the funeral.