Unsent Letters • 02.26.2015

Dear Principal Rigby,

It was brought to my attention this afternoon that my daughter, Autumn Wolfe, will not be allowed to attend this year’s Senior Luncheon with her classmates. She is very upset about this. If I remember correctly we were told, by you I might add, that the luncheon would be the sole activity she would be allowed to attend as a non-active student. She was all right with this because the luncheon was the only event she actually cared about. You were very clear about the rules regarding early graduation when you explained them to us in the high school library the day we ordered her cap and gown. She wasn’t even allowed to have your school counselor help her fill out her college and financial aid applications.

While I personally found that to be a bit much, I understand that there are rules to abide by.

In saying that, let me also make you aware of the fact that these rules have only been applied to my child. I can say with absolute certainty that Kyle Staton was able to receive help with his college applications and has been allowed to attend every senior meeting held thus far. Katlyn Campbell was not kept from going to the senior prom with Marvin Norris, nor was Dalton Massey, who consequently attended with Destiny Shepherd, who also is not a current student. Destiny, in fact, actually graduated last year.

What rules were applied to those ‘non-active’ students?

In all truthfulness, I’m not often one of those mothers who feels the need to advocate for my older children in most situations. Most. In this case, unfortunately, I cannot ignore what’s been happening at your school. My daughter is a good kid, and for her to be treated the way she has been is not right. She doesn’t even know whether or not she will be graduating with honors seeing as she wasn’t able to attend or accept any academic awards this year.

Autumn has been a model student during her time in the Union School District. She’s never been in trouble, never been paddled or suspended or gotten into fights. She was an above average student and will continue to do well as she moves on to the next phase of her life.

Finishing school a semester early is an accomplishment. One she worked hard for and should be proud of. There aren’t many teenagers out there these days, or adults for that matter, who would have made it a priority to get up and go to school every morning while fighting cancer the way she did. Trust me when I tell you, by the time she’d finished her classes she was tired.

She EARNED the right to finish early and she was proud to have done it on her own.

Until today.

Today, for the first time, she showed regret for her choices. She wished for a moment that she had stuck it out and could go with her friends. She feels like she’s being punished for doing well. To be honest, that’s the way it looks.

It is not common knowledge, and I d appreciate your discretion, that after the ceremony she’ll be doing radioactive treatment for some new growth that have been found on recent scans. She is afraid and disheartened but determined to make the best of every day. She goes to work and doesn’t complain and will continue to do so because that’s who she is.

I want you to know that in writing this email I’m not asking you to give her special treatment, or to make exceptions for her that you wouldn’t make for another student. If she can’t go then she can’t go, and she won’t be left alone. There are a few who are planning to forgo the event so as not to leave her out…

I apologize if I have been untoward in any way but I have held my tongue for long enough. So I will leave you with this..

I hope the luncheon goes well. Most of these kids have been imagining the ride around since they were little. It’s tradition. Hopefully the other non-active students won’t be too disappointed about not being included seeing as everyone knew the rules and exclusions when they chose to finish their classes early.

Rules are rules.

Thank you for your time. Sincerely,

Amber Howell

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