Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Total Lack of Diplomacy



My town has made the news again. For whatever reason, the powers that be seem intent on making national news every May, even if it means making a mockery of things many hold sacred.  It started when James Tate turned the side of the high school into his own personal bulletin board, using masking tape to post a sign asking a girl to go to the prom with him. He was subsequently banned from the prom for his “vandalism”, but after pressure from the community and appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and the Today show, the decision was reversed. A few years later, the school administration was back in the national spotlight, this time regarding an 11th hour dress code that suddenly surfaced regarding the style of prom dresses, threatening to ban any student who showed up in a gown that had cut outs, side-slits, or exposed backs. Again there was an uproar and influx of satellite trucks and news teams, and again the administration backed down, or at least softened their stance.  

In both cases, I found myself sympathizing with the administrators for trying to do the “right” thing. Sure, I was also shaking my head at the stupidity of their seemingly knee-jerk reactions and complete lack of foresight in not seeing how these decisions would blow up in their faces, but I could understand and appreciate where they were coming from.  

But their latest May headline grab is absolutely disgusting and indefensible. The Shelton High senior pictured above was recently killed in a car accident, and his parents were hoping he would be posthumously awarded his diploma at graduation, along with his classmates. They were told no.  No. No, we will not allow the name of your dead son to be read aloud with the rest of his classmates. No, we will not award a diploma, even though he was already accepted into college. No, we will not provide any sense of closure, comfort, or common decency.

And why? Is there some legal issue we are not privy to that would give them a legit reason for not honoring such a reasonable request? The answer is no. The excuses they are giving range from rhetoric about World War II and Korean soldiers receiving honorary degrees to the board of ed not being able to find anything in their records to guide them and are therefor unwilling to set a new precedent One BOE member even said “The implication was that others in the future would expect similar treatment” Really? And that is a problem, why? We won’t award your dead son an honorary diploma because then we’d have to give every kid who tragically passes away a diploma? Is paper that expensive? Is decency that difficult?

I truly don’t get it. This is not the first time Shelton has dealt with such a situation, and sadly, it won’t be the last. But in every other instance, they did the right thing. The only difference in this case are the people in charge – and to me,  if I can’t count on them to do right by a single dead student, how the hell can I trust them to make the truly difficult decisions that affect the thousands of kids still in the school system, including my own son? I mean, budget cuts are hard to make. Curriculum choices are very difficult. Safety and security concerns are extremely challenging. I would expect board of ed members to struggle with such decisions. But no one could have expected such a no-brainer “decision” to show a little common sense and compassion to become such a problem. And that is a problem. I have lost all faith, trust, and patience with this board of ed – and even if they repeat their May pattern of reversing their decision, it will be too late. The damage has been done. If they require past precedent in order to be decent, then we need some new people in charge.

I say this not just as a concerned citizen or upset parent, but as a teacher. One, who every year, gives his students the same advice: “Don’t be the kid they dedicate the yearbook to.” They look at me a little strange until I explain that, chances are, when they show up in September as freshmen, one of the kids in their high school will not live to see his or her graduation.  And while that kid will get a special page in the yearbook, and have balloons released in his or her honor, and have the school rock painted in their favorite color, and get the loudest cheer at graduation, you do NOT want to be that kid.


And you definitely don’t want to be that kid if you live in Shelton.

87 comments:

  1. I am shocked and appalled that your school board would take such a stance. It's shameful! I'm so sorry for that student's family...to be treated this way and have their son's school career disrespected like this is...well, there aren't sufficient words to express my feelings. Let's just say I feel nothing but contempt for the members of that school board!

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  2. Unfortunately Mike, I, as a Shelton resident for my whole life, have to agree with EVERYTHING you said. I used to be proud of my home town, my mother used to say, don't do anything you don't want me to find out about, because I will by tomorrow morning... Truth. She was a Shelton Educator for over 40 years. I was recently embarrassed when shopping for my daughters prom dress this year, OUTSIDE of SHELTON, when they said "oh your're from Shelton, is this going to be approved"? That is pale in comparison to what we are dealing with now. Eddy's grandma worked with/for my mom at the old Ripton School, (how ironic that that's where the BOE is located now) she devoted her life giving compassionately to those with mental and physical disabilities for many years of her life. YES, his grandmother was an employee of the Shelton BOE, what a slap in the face. I'm sure her and Eddy are looking down in disbelief at the way their family is being treated as are the rest of us.....Thanks for the article, it had me in tears!!

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  3. This is awful. As good as some school districts are, in many ways they still fail our children. There are certain issues they simply don't know how to handle and should probably update their policies and practices to help deal with the problems of today's youth and their families. It's atrocious that they won't give that boy his diploma posthumously, especially when there is simply no reason.

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  4. 2 of my 3 children who graduated from Shelton High School, has classmates who died during their senior year. The school rightfully and proudly honored these kids during the graduation ceremony by having their name read and a family representative accepted the diploma. The reading of their names did not distract or take away from the ceremony, not at all. The school board states it would be more meaningful and there will be "more seating" available if the diploma was presented at a small ceremony sometime prior to graduation. Utter nonsense!! The Shelton school board, should be ashamed of themselves.

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  5. I am no longer a Shelton resident, however, I am horrified by the actions of the BOE of Shelton as are all the other people outside of Shelton, and I can't imagine how the people of Shelton are feeling right now, especially Eddy's family. I don't recall in a long time reading such a heartless act toward a person who tragically died in a car accident. This was a fine, young man who was looking forward to college and the rest of his life and all his family was asking for was to honor their son with a piece of paper to show his nearly 12 years of achievement in the Shelton public school system and to hear his name called out at the only graduation they would ever attend for him. I have asked myself many times over why would a group of people take that away from them? They say because of a legality? They made a "concession" and agreed to award his diploma at the Senior Award Banquet -- really??? No matter the outcome of this now, they have dampened what should have been a very simple, honorable gesture for them to do in the beginning. I wonder how they justify this to themselves? I for one wouldn't want this on my conscience. They have again made Shelton look like fools and I wonder how long it's going to take to vote these elected officials, all of them, out of office so they don't have the opportunity to put Shelton back in the news again. My heart goes out to Eddy's family -- he and they deserved better than this!!! Time for Shelton to do something and not allow these people another chance to have the media pulling up the driveway to Shelton High School.

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  6. I am a Shelton resident and have been very disappointed with the Shelton High School experience.....from the faculty, to the administration. I have a child graduating this year and another who is a freshman and if I could afford it, my freshman would go to private school in a heartbeat!

    I cannot imagine the pain and grief the family of Ed Conklin is dealing with. I give them credit for standing up for themselves and fighting a good fight. Losing a child at any time, but specifically at this time, right on the verge of manhood, when his adult life is just about to begin and the promise of a brilliant future is upon them is just horrifying!

    That being said, I feel that no one is addressing the "elephant in the room".....Ed Conklin was killed in a horrific car accident after leaving a party where underage drinking and drugging were taking place. Does this make it any less tragic? NO! Absolutely not! But, do we want to honor this kind of behavior? Do we want to show our kids that it's OK to go out and drink and do drugs and then drive because if you pass away in an accident, (God forbid) then you'll be honored by everyone in your community and become somewhat of a hero.

    Please, don't get me wrong. I do believe that a moment of silence should be held and a diploma should be given to his family, but my fear is that glorifying this type of behavior is only going to make our fearless children think that good things can come from bad decisions....

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Why is the negative even being brought up?
      A child lost his life.
      I guess you are the ONLY PERSON who didn't mess up as a teen

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    3. I agree! We should strike his name from the records. His family should be punished further for raising a teenager who got drunk and drove! We should banish the other students who were at the party too! These students must learn that no mistakes in life will be tolerated!

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    4. you're a mistake to life

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    5. I agree. And now that the parents are pushing for this diploma to be awarded in the actual graduation exercises, things are coming out that I would never want to have come out if my child had done the same thing. Now there will always be whispers about the drinking and drugs rather than just remembering a child who died. If you live in a glass house....

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    6. WHY DO YOU WANT HIS FAMILY TO BE PUNISHED SO BADLY. WHAT HAVE THEY FUCKING DONE TO DESERVE THIS?????? THEY ARE GOOD PEOPLE. THEY ARE SUFFERING EVERY FUCKING DAY OF THEIR LIFE AND WILL FOREVER. WHY ARE YOU SO SAD WITH YOUR OWN LIFE THAT YOU CANNOT LET HIS PARENTS HAVE ONE LAST PIECE OF CLOSURE? I FUCKING HOPE YOUR CHILD DOESNT DIE BEFORE THEY GRADUATE. AND IF THEY DO, I HOPE YOU GET TREATED LIKE SHIT.

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    7. I apologize for my last sentence but the sentiment is the same. Like come one. Treat people as you would like to be treated. If this happened to you, and this is the type of shit people said to you... that YOU should be punished even more than you already are... It would break your heart

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    8. I know I made a lot of mistakes as a teenager and adult and did alot of stupid things that could have gotten me killed but I also know I did thousands of good things in my life and from what I hear the same is true of Eddy. This isnt a soapbox. Give the kid his degree. Ease his parents pain for a day. Its simple, easy and humane. Anyone who says otherwise is a moron

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    9. I don't think a moment of silence and the young man's name called out with a diploma given to his parent is wrong in that it will glorify drugs and alcohol. If anything it will call to mind that drugs/alcohol and other behaviors could lead to a heartbreaking end. You are looking at this from the wrong point of view.

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    10. It could do the exact opposite. Remind kids of what could happen and be more mindful.

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  7. TO the person who commented at 1:11 anonymously your comment was great until the second to last paragraph!!! I find you absolutely disgusting to even say such a thing about what took place prior to his accident! were you there? Did you see them "drinking and drugging"? DId you see Ed do that?? Because if you were there and did see it then shame on you as a parent for allowing that to happen and if you weren't there then how do you know it happened!?! it DOESN'T MATTER HOW HE DIED IT IS TRAGIC FOR ANYONE YOUNG TO PASS AWAY IN ANY TRAGIC MANOR!! HE ABSOLUTELY WAS A STUDENT WHO BY REPORTS HAD ALREADY BEEN ACCEPTED TO COLLEGE AND WAS GOING TO GRADUATE! HE SHOULD BE HONORED AND HIS NAME SHOULD BE CALLED AND A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY SHOULD COLLECT HIS DIPLOMA! AND THE BOE AND ADMINISTRATION AND ANYONE ELSE WHO DOESN'T THINK SO IS A DISGRACE TO EACH AND EVERY OTHER PARENT IN THIS WORLD! Think for one minute if something tragic happen to you child who is about to graduate and this was being done to you how would you react? if this gives the parents a slight bit of happiness in their darkest hour SO BE IT AND LET IT HAPPEN!!!!

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    1. He posted on his snapchat the night before and night of, himself snorting xanax and drinking alcohol. He died because of the decisions he made, everyone in school knows it, and everyone sharing this story knows it. If Ed decided not to drive that night, he would be getting his diploma with everyone else, but unfortunately he made the wrong decision. We were all friends of Ed's, and we all love him. He will forever be in out hearts, and the memories we have will be cherished, but the reason he died cannot be swept under the rug. Kids need to see that our actions DO have consequences. We are not invincible, and we need to take care of our friends and loved ones and not let anyone else succumb to the horrific issue of drug abuse.

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    2. Bravo! Well said! This is coming from one of his class mates...listen up, adults from Shelton!

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    3. It is common knowledge that he was drinking and abusing drugs and THAT is what caused his death. Sad and horrific as this may be...the graduation celebration should NOT be clouded by the sad reminder of his tragic death. Have a moment of silence and give the family his diploma in private and let the other families have their day to celebrate with their kids!! Want prove of what he was doing? Read the other reply below from one of his friends...

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    4. Completely agree that a diploma should not be awarded. Sad as this situation is and personally experiencing loses related to drugs this is not sending the right message to to children. A moment of silence is appropriate.

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    5. Not only shouldn't a diploma be awarded, any mention of his name or picture should be erased! His family deserves to be punished further for raising a teenager who got drunk and drove! The friends who attended the party also should be expelled and banished from the community! The students must learn that no mistakes will be tolerated! The student body must live in fear of the pain we can inflict upon them if we so choose! These kids should be thankful that we let them pretend to have "freedoms" and "rights". These overgrown rugrats must learn not to challenge those of us who hold the real power! And if any student tries to protest or expresses displeasure at the decision, they should be expelled and banished too!

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    6. You are a horrible person.

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    7. do you even have a heart? if this was your child you would be heartbroken by cowards like you saying these things about your dead son. you are all disgusting human beings

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    8. WOW!! All the perfect people that have never made a mistake in your life, and are still living by the good grace of God. Have some compassion, mistake or no mistake, no family or person should have to feel the pain from the life altering loss of their child. Be grateful you survived all your perfect choices in life and hopefully everyone in your family will be as perfect as you are and will not have to suffer such a tragic loss of a family member by making a less than perfect choice. Your are obviously ignorant and heartless and that is why you are Anonymous!

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    9. "banished from the community" LMFAOOOO YOU ARE FUCKING PATHETIC. I GUESS YOU NEVER DRANK IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE YOU WORTHLESS FUCK.

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    10. THE SCHOOL ADMIN KNOWS EVEYRONE WHO DRANK THAT NIGHT AND ONLY A FRACTION GOT PUNISHED. MAYBE NONE OF YOUR KIDS SHOULD WALK THEN. JUST BECAUSE HE DIED HE DOESN'T GET A DIPLOMA? BUT YET EVERY OTHER KID WHO DRANK WILL? THIS IS BULLSHIT.

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    11. HE IS GETTING HIS DIPLOMA STOP LYING

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    12. He will get an honorary one at a different venue. His parents want it at graduation.

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  8. This is heartbreaking!! I dont understand why this is even an issue.The Board Of Ed should say yes.I saw a video of Ed's Mom on the news crying because they wont let them get Ed's diploma.They have been through so much hurt already!! How can the Board Of Ed put them through more hurt!! If it makes the family happy, let them get his diploma.Have a heart!! How would you feel if this was your kid!!!

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    1. So if you cry on TV you should be able to get something. People die of starvation and disease every day......It happens, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Very simple, he did not finish, he gets no diploma...xanax and drinking and driving. Sure its sad, but stfu and deal with your grief, a diploma is not going to do anything for the parents. They will just be howling and crying all night during the graduation.

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    2. You don't know them so you can't speak about what they will do or not do.

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  9. Such disrespect for the dead is absolutely disgraceful!

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  10. Such disrespect for the dead is absolutely disgraceful!

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  11. I completely agree. Words of truth n wisdom!!

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  12. The BOE is heartless, wrong, and embarrassing.

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  13. I think that having his name read allows for several very important messages to be sent.

    It tells his family that we care. That how he died doesn't erase all the wonderful things about their son. It gives them peace in some way.

    It tells his peers to never take life for granted. Live and enjoy life but always value your life and others lives as the most precious commodity.

    It will be a reminder that while they may be adults that they are not invincible. That death is the greatest of all consequences. Think twice, because you don't want to make the wrong decisions and lose your opportunity to live your full life.

    It gives the community a sense of closure. Our children are human. They make mistakes. And while I don't condone the circumstances surrounding his death, he paid the greatest price for his judgement. We have all been young and taken risks, lived irresponsibly, or been like lt enough to live and learn from or mistakes.

    I don't think this is about whether his accident was tragic or not just because of the circumstances. Any parent who buried a gold for any reason deserves some compassion. One mistake does not define this young man.

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    1. Huzzah. THIS. ^
      Excellent post, and far more graciously written than I could manage.

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  14. Has anyone thought of anything besides what happened that night? No one knows if he was suffering from depression, or if he was peer pressured, or even had an addiction problem. I think that we need to get past HOW he died and support his family during this horrific and tragic time! No one was in his shoes so I do not understand how some people think they have the right to try to say what happened. What about all of the other kids who party every single weekend? They are being awarded their diploma, and for what? So they can continue to drink and do drugs? Denying a diploma to Ed will not be taken as as lesson. Kids will not learn from this because they are not in his position. It is cruel to deny him a diploma after everything he has accomplished.

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  15. do any of you writing negative things about this poor kid who is gone have a heart? he has a family and friends who are reading these and are just being torn because you cold hearted people can't keep your opinions to yourselves. shame on you for hiding behind the mask of the internet and being too much of cowards to say who you are. completely disgusted by all of you. the only thing you should be worried about is your parenting skills because if this is what you're teaching your children, then our world is definitely fucked. he was a person who can't even defend himself. NONE of you are perfect and i guarantee you have all had a drink in high school. honestly so disappointed in humanity and in these cowards.

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  16. if any of you realized the amount of pain you are inflicting in these parents, who may even be you someday, you would never ever say these cruel things. He has gone way too soon over a bad choice and you have to realize how much of a touchy subject this is. someone is dead and gone people, cut the crap and stop being so damn rude

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  17. Perhaps the family is feeling a lot of guilt. You let your minor child attend late night parties, fail to keep tabs on what he is doing, ignore his Facebook posts showing that he's doing drugs, ignore the fact that he has done this before, and pretty much give him the freedom--and the car keys--to engage in destructive behavior. What if he had killed another child--a passenger or a pedestrian-- in the accident? People wouldn't be trying to push for his mother to cross the stage. And are we asking the BOE to set a policy so that if a kid like Adam Lanza was a member of the graduating class, he'd get a diploma, too? Recognition at the awards ceremony is much more appropriate. Then it's clear that it's honorary and doesn't create a situation where every child who dies prior to graduation receives a diploma no matter what the circumstances.

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    1. You're a pretty awful person, I'm sure your child (ren) don't hide anything at all from you and that you're perfect. The amount of ignorance in some of these comments is ridiculous. His parents are still grieving regardless of what happened their child is no longer here. Obviously you wouldn't say this crap to their faces as you didn't even have the balls to put your real name. If a child dies before graduation they deserve to be awarded an honorary diploma in any circumstance. It gives the family of that child closure and decent human beings shouldn't have a problem with that. I pray that you never experience the pain that this family is feeling, but if you do I hope some jerk like yourself and others commenting on here doesn't write such awful things that you may read online.

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    2. You're comparing the death of Eddy Conklin to Adam Lanza.................................................................. Is this actually a joke

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    3. Your a complete fucking asshole. The kid made a mistake millions of kids have made and he died for it. Isnt that enough punishment you fucktard. Comparing him to Adam Lanza is so fucked up. How about you publish your name with your opinion coward

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  18. It's not like the BOE isn't honoring Eddy. They're having a moment of silence at the graduation and awarding an honorary diploma at the senior awards presentation. Graduation tickets are hard to come by, so by having the recognition at a separate ceremony allows more of Eddy's family to attend. I know I'd like more tickets for my family. And although I liked Eddy, I didn't go to any of the parties he and his friends had. My parents wouldn't approve of unsupervised parties. I realize that the family is still grieving, but this circus is crazy. The people fighting to have Eddy's parents cross the stage are adding fuel to the flame of grief the parents are suffering. And a lot of us are afraid to post comments on other pages because we get censored or told that we're horrible. For me, the ones who are horrible are the people who keep pushing this and won't let Eddy rest in peace.

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    1. You're a selfish little bitch aren't you. Maybe his family would have liked HIM to attend? Instead of your in-bred family? Seriously. This is the only closure they are asking for. You get so many more happy moments with your family. Stop being so fucking selfish

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    3. I dont think Kit is being selfish, I think Kit has a point, an sorry to say BUT closure?? hee was not murdered, so they arent looking for the body or murderer, he didnt die over seas and they cant find a body, I am sure they have had closure, but with that said, yes they WILL be getting a Diploma, YES he will be Honored and Yes he Will probably be a part of graduation like others who died during their senior yrs...........Closure is something you need when something is missing in the end result, what they want is a Close to the life he had, But sadly, when they get it at ALL these functions, they still will ask for more, and more and more, it isnt right that a parent survives their child, but we have to know when to stop. It wont bring him back all this fuss n muss, all it is doing is keeping at an unrest, This should all just stop, they should think about the fact that they are not letting his spirit rest

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    4. ????????? Excuse me, what? CLOSURE IS SOMETHING THAT IS DONE IN THERAPY AFTER LITERALLY ANYTHING. Breakups need closure, fights need closure, moving needs closure, DEATH needs closure! How are you only assigning to criminal matters??? WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT "CLOSING" A CASE YOU IDIOT! Glad to know that when you outlive your parents, you won't need any "closure" from their deaths. GOT IT.

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    5. How many more events could this possibly go on for after graduation? Let's be real

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    6. Did someone here actually call a child a bitch and use the f-word? That's pretty vile. I'd like to think that we could all be above that sort of behavior. Certainly Kit deserves an apology. I've been keeping out of this discussion, mostly because it's not very productive. I can see that the parents are grieving, but the fact seems to be that Eddy committed a criminal act. It's not like other teens--and adults--dont do the same thing, but I think the BoE and Superintendent are spot on in their decision. An honorary diploma awarded on the awards night is fine, but awarding a diploma during graduation sends a signal that improper behavior will be awarded if a crowd mentality is allowed to have its way.

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    7. They will never have closure. Their baby boy died. Christ have a heart

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    8. Kit if he was allowed he would be getting his tickets. So now that he has died that doesn't make a difference. If you need more tickets you can request them. I did and got all the ones I needed. There's plenty of room at graduation more than at the awards ceremony

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    9. Hey Joanne, I wrote the comment. I'm a 21 year old girl. And that girl is what, 18? A bitch is a bitch no matter the age, and I DON'T use that word often. Extremely rarely. But to say, "wah wah I want my family there" after the tragic, horrible death of a classmate... Yeah you're a fucking bitch and probably will always be one! People don't change. Call a spade a spade. Kit can go cry to her fam about it, or maybe you, Joanne. Have a heart, Jesus Christ. Prince was honored at the BIllboard Awards last night even though he died of drugs. Was that wrong? Was it condoning drugs? NO. It was celebrating his life. That is what an honorary diploma would do at graduation. Wake up.

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  19. I have seen everything about what goes on with the board of education and it's so sad that they have to put Shelton schools in the news all the time. It's giving Shelton school system a bad name. They really need to get who's ever in charge out of office. All they are doing is bringing the school system down. It's a shame they can't grant this family wishes. They are a poor excuse for a human being. There is nothing wrong with a relative excepting this young mans diploma on the day of graduation. So this kid may of made some mistakes. That's part of life and that's how we learn. Some of these rude remarks are uncalled for. And heartless. Just let his family get his diploma at graduation. My heart and prayers go out to the family.

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  20. It amazes me that anyone who has a different opinion about this is verbally harassed. Perhaps the people who are "disgusted" by the apposing position (SHS alumni, no doubt)should be a bit more open minded. No one is suggesting that they are better than anyone else. No one is saying that their child(ren) are perfect. They are simply giving a different side to a tragic story. Do you think that all this is helping the situation? Again.....attacking people because of their opinions is "disgusting" and just shows me what this town is really all about.....be ashamed!

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    1. Put yourself in his parents shoes, in his sisters shoes, in his friends shoes. If it were your child and you were reading these heinous and absurd comments you would understand why they are disgusting. It does not matter how he passed away, it does not simply change the fact that he is GONE. People need to learn what respect is and keep there mouths shut because their opinions are not asked for in this tragic moment. There is no reason to bash on his parents and on him over a mistake that could've happened to anyone including you. I simply do not understand how someone has the courage to share a negative opinion on the actions of someone who is gone. He no longer breathes, he no longer sees, he is no longer alive and people think they have the right to says these things about him. Before anyone even thinks about commenting anything negative whatsoever, PUT YOURSELVES IN HIS PARENTS SHOES because they have suffered enough, if you are the slightest bit human, keep your mouth shut and respect them and their pain. Do not inflict more.

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    2. Spot on. STFU. This isnt about your opinion on who should be president. This kid died. People are calling him a criminal and drug addict. STFU most of these people didnt even know this kid. Noone wants your opinion. Honor the kid. Get off your perfect human soapbox assholes

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  21. I have to agree with the above comment. I've been following this controversy on the Shelton Moms page and on the In and Around Shelton page. I've noticed that comments have been deleted by the page administrators whenever the commments don't agree with the vocal group that want the Conklin child's parents to receive the diploma. This is my first time commenting anywhere, but I have to agree with the BOE. And I really think there is even more to the story that most people know about. I think the BOE has been trying to protect Ed's family by keeping things low key. Instead, there has been a mob mentality trying to force the BOE to do what many do not want to do. The voices of those against the commencement exercise presentation are being blocked on social media by censorship from the page admins who clearly only want to hear comments that agree with them. Perhaps it's time for full disclosure of the toxicology report and information from Ed's friends, many of whom have said that this was not the first time they'd had to plead with him to not drive after becoming intoxicated.

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    1. How is not giving him a diploma protecting his family? If they had just done it in the first place, all the attention to how he died wouldn't need to rehashed by everyone in fucking Shelton!! NO ONE HAS PERMISSION TO SEE HIS TOXICOLOGY REPORT. IT IS LITERALLY NOT YOUR BUSINESS. STOP BEING SO CURIOUS AND SELFISH, AS IF YOU ARE OWED ANYTHING

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    2. As if I'm owed anything? If anyone is acting like they're owed anything it's the family that is pushing for the diploma. How much do you want to bet that the reason they got a lawyer before the Board even considered the awarding of an honorary diploma is that they want to sue the city?

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    3. Mary, you are an idiot. The kid died because of a tragic mistake and you want to rub his families face in it? Please post a pic of your perfect human certificate

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    4. Mary
      They asked a lawyer, a friend of theirs, about whether or not he was eligible to receive a honorary diploma. That's it no other reason.

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  22. I find it funny that all the people posting the negative, awful, things saying how this poor family should not be able to honor their son by having his diploma handed at graduation are almost ALWAYS posting anonymously.
    You people are cowards!

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    1. I completely agree. If you are sure of your opinion, admit it openly. This is a teachable moment. I'll bet a lot of the people above who made their comments are church going people of various denominations. I am willing to bet that each of those places of worship preach forgiveness and doing onto others..... Both sentiments that I agree with and support. Try actually practicing those things. We all live in glass houses whether we admit it or not. It is all too clear what the consequences of that fateful night wrought. I say again that this is a teachable moment, but this Board of Ed, and the Superintendent are teaching the wrong thing.

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  23. I would say by now 3 strikes and you're out! This is the 3rd time in recent years that the BOE has make major common sense mistakes. It is cruel. And maybe we should start electing an all new BOE members next election.

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  24. Personally as a mother, you have future steps you want to see your children accomplish: Talk, Walk, go to School, graduate high school, go to college, graduate college, get a great job, get married & start a family. Unfortuently, the Conklin's will never see their own son graduate high school. Eddy went thru 11.6 years of school, the family I believe just wants the last thing they will ever get for him; even though its only the Honorary Diploma.

    Yes, Eddy did some stupid things- every kid does it- even if you think they are the "perfect" child, everything is at their fingertips, and easy to get... He has to pay the price, and his family is the one that has to pay it since he is no longer here. I believe the last final thing they want is this diploma since it will be last thing they ever get of Eddy's..

    Lastly, who cares what he was doing.. He is no longer here, that is the important thing.. His parents don't get to see their child physically any more. This should be a learning experience for not only classmates but also for us parents.

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  25. This is SO not true They WERE Offered an Honorary Diploma at an HONORS dinner where they give out Other Honors AND they have honored other child who have passed AT Graduation, so they probably will still honor him yet, but DO NOT SAY they Were Not offered or were told not they were not getting his Diploma, that is NOT TRUE I dont understand WHY people are changing the wording on everything.

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    1. They want it at graduation, where all other diplomas are received.

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  26. To those who have the audacity to sit here and ridicule parents who are more than loving and their DECEASED CHILD, please reevaluate your decisions. The majority of you probably have never even spoken to the any of the Conklins and to talk down on any of them - especially Ed, who was a dear friend to many and cannot even defend himself any longer - is just downright rude. I do believe Ed should receive his diploma amongst his peers so that the entire community can get closure from this traumatizing experience. If you believe otherwise, that is fine. But do not sit behind a computer screen and insult Ed, one of the funniest and brightest people I had ever known. And, furthermore, do not attack his parents. Unless you are a policeman with the reports yourself, do not make assumptions. This is not a situation where people need to go pointing fingers and blame it on "bad parenting" - awful things happen day in and day out for a multitude of reasons. Ed's parents are suffering enough and do not need all of this additional negativity in their lives. For them to be able to get his diploma at graduation would be one of the final steps in allowing them to move past this. Of course Ed's friends would have wanted him there on their graduation day, and allowing his family to retrieve his diploma for him would be the next best thing to that. Let him rest PEACEFULLY and keep your nasty mouths shut. Thank you.

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  27. Graduation is a very special milestone in a young adult's life. It's a time to look back at accomplishments and look forward to the future. I'm sure that Eddy Conklin will be there in spirit, so it only makes sense that he be included in the ceremony. A chair among the graduates with his cap and gown and the presentation of an honorary diploma to a family member would only make the occasion MORE special for his classmates, friends and family. I did not know Eddy, but it appears that he was a fine young man... excellent student, accomplished school athlete, and accepted to college. Eddy Conklin DESERVES to be included in the graduation ceremony with his classmates and those classmates DESERVE the opportunity to remember him as they reflect on their High School days and dream of the future... a future that was tragically taken from their friend. There is no excuse or acceptable reason for excluding a student who has passed away from a day that will be remember by classmates, friends and loved ones for a lifetime.

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  29. Simple human compassion. Three words. Simple human compassion. If we all were to be judged over the choices we made as teenagers, who among us would survive modern social media? I know that I wouldn't have survived it 35 years ago. It's easy to sit in judgmental until the mirror turns in YOUR direction. I have no idea what happened that night, nor do I care. I care that a human... a son, a brother (?), a grandson, a nephew (?) lose his life, leaving before unspeakable grief. If a few moments on graduation day can give that grief a loving hug, then what is so wrong with that?

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  30. We are asking that Eddy be honored at graduation with his honorary diploma, the ceremony where diplomas are awarded. What part of this is an extraordinary request? This is not rhetorical. What grave harm would it cause to have Eddy’s name announced where it otherwise would be? Who would it hurt so deeply? Who would be so affectingly discomforted by this that it would exceed the comfort we will receive through it? Because we truly would feel comfort, in an otherwise painful and agonizing experience. It would make Eddy’s high school experience “complete” for us, and give us something to move on with; to know Eddy had a place at graduation, wherever he is. It would give us all a place to move forward from. We implore that you truly consider the piece of comfort you could provide to us. Consider how it could help you close a chapter in your own child’s death. It’s hard enough never be able to see our child graduate high school, college, get married, have children, or reach any other milestone. We do not understand why we have to fight so hard to simply have our child’s name announced and honorary diploma awarded to our family during commencement.

    Ed & Barbara Conklin

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    1. I am very sorry for your loss and personally plan to write every member of the board, Mark Lauretti and my aldermen as these people are ridiculous. You and your son deserve the honor of being recognized for all his hard work. You are in my prayers. Jerry Hall

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  31. I just saw Mr. Holden's post on my mom's facebook page and it makes sense to me. Eddy is getting an honorary diploma, but everyone is acting like he isn't. I don't want his parents to be part of the ceremony when I walk. It'll be way too sad. Eddy was my friend, but I get it. And even though we did stuff together, he changed a lot senior year. But after all the stuff that has happened, I hate the stupid green ribbons and the crazy stuff going on. If I died I wouldn't want a big deal made where eveyone is fighting. It's stupid. An honarary diploma is a nice way to remember him.

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    1. I don't think you were his friend. Otherwise, you would get it.

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  32. Dave called me and told me about this page. I'm like him. I don't like this stupid stuff. Eddie died. That's a PITA, but I don't wanna have a big deal made at our graduation. I wanna have a good time. He can't come back, so what's the deal.

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  33. Boys just having his name announced and his parents walking up would make you uncomfortable? Thanks for speaking up. I would hope that it would be a way to celebrate Eddys life.

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  34. No, that's not my name but my mom won't let me write wiht my real name cuz theres a bunch of ppl trying to force the shcool to let Eddy's family walk for him. We dont want our house egged. Kids are afraid to tell the trutch. He's getting a honorary diploma and thats ok. They don't need to ruin graduation with protests and trying to make us cry. I don't want to remember my graduation as the one ppl messed up cuz their fighting over a kid who died taking drugs but they want us to clap for the dude. That's messed up. It's a war and ppl don't wanna follow the rules. They just want their own way. Poor Eddy--no peace for him now.

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    1. Because of kids like you.

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  35. SHS kids don't have a good way to say what they're thinking b/c we can't get on the Shelton Moms page unless we look at what our mothers are looking at. If we say we don't want graduation to be all about Eddy, its b/c there are at least two other kids from our class who died and no one cares about them. I do want to say there's censoring b/c we can't post on the page where everyone is complaining about the school. We're allowed to give our opinion at school if we do it nice, but I see several of the kids posting here have been called names. Loki (I think I know his real name) was insulted and so was the guy named Dave. Kit Kat was called a b***** and told she was horrible. It seems like a lot of adults are calling people names--including kids. I cried when Eddy died, but it's been months and its not right to only remember him. And I don't think Kris's family wants to have a big deal at graduation. Sorry, but it's the truth. Adults need to follow rules. They want kids to respect other people and follow rules, but the adults are a bad example. I'd be grounded if I said some of the stuff adults said here . Listen to the Frozen song and LET IT GO!!!!!

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    1. Ann, do you want a medal for crying? By mentioning that you cried once you are trying to convey that you have sympathy for the case but it really doesn't seem like it. I'm the person calling shitty kids out and I'm only a few years older than you. I don't have the reserve adults have in this situation because you know what? Sometimes you need to break social rules in an effort to BREAK THROUGH to people. The fact that you have to sensor "bitch" says enough. Grow up and handle the real world, it's coming soon. This could not be any more of a real matter. It is literally a death of your classmate. Kris unfortunately passed as a sophomore. Eddy was very close to graduating. You assume I'm crass but you can so easily say "no one cares about them" without thinking if their families frequent this page. That's pretty low. At least the words I say come from a deep source of compassion and anger that others cannot show the same compassion. His family never wanted a big deal, just to have his name announced, which HAS HAPPENED at SHS before and continually happens at other schools around CT. So you need to stop making it a big deal by saying it shouldn't happen, since what is happening is deviating from the standard (which would be having his name announced). Have compassion for not only Eddy's family, but Kris's too, rather than saying "no one cares about him" because I still think about his death since it happened. Through that comment and your comment in entirety, you seem more coldhearted than I could ever be. Perhaps, even... dare I not say should you cry... a bitch.

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