Ky. mother says school no longer holding chair for deceased daughter at graduation

Courtney died before starting her freshman year at Grant County High School.
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GRANT COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - A Grant County mother claims she has been denied access to what would have been her deceased daughter’s high school graduation.

Myka Williams says she was told that since her daughter died four years ago, there would be an empty chair at Grant County High School’s Friday ceremony to honor her memory.

“I don’t understand why anybody would want to put anybody through this," she said. “As if I don’t suffer on a daily basis.”

All Williams wants is an empty chair to represent her daughter, Courtney, who would have been graduating Friday. She died before starting her freshman year.

“It’s very tough," she said. “And something I have to face everyday.”

Grant County Schools Public Information Officer Nancy Howe says the district has never had an empty chair for a student who has not been enrolled at the high school.

"Today, kids are calling me and texting me like, ‘What’s going on? We just went through rehearsal, they didn’t even have a chair for her, they’re not going to do a moment of silence for her,’” said Williams.

Courtney passed away after eighth grade, heading into her freshman year. She had already picked her freshman classes, but technically, the district says you’re not a ninth grader until the first day of school.

Williams says her daughter played softball for the high school in seventh and eighth grade, however.

“Plenty of coaches would stand up and vouch for her being on the team. I’m not going to just make something like that up," Williams said.

In a Facebook post that’s picking up some traction, Williams vented about the apparent mix-up. That’s when something unexpected happened.

“A sheriff’s deputy showed up at my house, said that Grant County Schools had notified them to come to notify me that I’m not allowed on school property tomorrow, for graduation, and that if I was, I would be arrested," Williams said. “There’s no threats, there’s no harmful words in there -- basically just saying I’m disgusted with the way that Grant County High School has treated us.”

The following is part of the district’s response to the situation: “We acknowledge it’s very painful for any parent to lose a child and we recognize that pain for the students and parents.”

The district says there will be a table with a bouquet for any student who was formerly a member of the class that has passed. Graduation is Friday at 7 p.m. Friends have volunteered Williams a ticket, and she says she plans to attend.

The Grant County sheriff could not be reached in time for comment on this story.

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