North Colonie- When Shaker High School Senior Yusef Westerman was killed in a car crash in November, sadness was felt throughout the student body.
Motivated by everything Yusef stood for, his friends decided to paint a rock outside the school with the message “RIP YUSEF”. Painting this particular rock is a Senior tradition. Rather than painting it with something trivial or trendy like “2016 we out”, the students eloquently paid tribute to their dear friend, sending happiness and love throughout the student body.
Apparently the school administration did not see it in the same light. After assuring students it wouldn’t be painted over, the school surreptitiously painted over it anyway. In a statement posted on the North Colonie CSD website, the school cited miscommunication as their explanation for why the tribute was defaced.
Angering students even more, this isn’t the first time the school has gotten in the way of students trying to honor their friend. “When Yusef first passed away, the school was very hesitant with even holding memorial service,” Yusef’s friend, Noah Tabatsky, said.
Once students realized the school painted over their tribute, they took to Twitter to voice their concerns and love for Yusef.
this is so disgusting, first you wouldn’t let his friends come to the memorial and now you paint over the rock https://t.co/pgb9892TO7
— deondra (@DoubleDDeondra) June 9, 2016
— Cardi ❤♒ (@niahhh_) June 9, 2016
— ❄️ (@novhpvrron) June 9, 2016
In a move of good will, the school has decided to allow students to re-paint the rock, so long as they coordinate it with main office first.
Students are pleased that the school is letting them repaint, but feel that the school used their statement as a “bandaid to cover up the damage they did by painting the rock white”.