ACTON (CBSLA.com) — A Southland teenager says she was sent home from school because the administration thought her T-shirt glamorized suicide.
Hailey Monsour, an eighth grader at High Desert School, says she made the shirt this week as a way of remembering her classmate, who deputies say, took his own life.
“So, I put a heart with angel wings because I know that he went to heaven,” a tearful Monsour said Friday.
More than 100 people attended an evening vigil in search of closure but many say they can’t get it until the school lets them express their grief however they see fit.
Monsour says officials told her to change her shirt because she says they believed it sent the wrong message to students: that it’s okay to glorify suicide.
“I said, ‘No.’ They said, ‘We don’t think you understand.’ I said, ‘I understand. I can’t do that.’ And so they said, ‘OK, we’re going to call your parents and have them pick you up because we will not let you back on campus,’ ” she said.
A student showed CBS2 cellphone video the student says she took on campus during a memorial.
Monsour says school officials tried to break it up but students are heard in the background chanting: “Let her finish.”
A parent also showed CBS2 a letter she says came from the school that reads in part:
“Due to the sensitive nature of this situation, dedicating memorials in public settings, such as park benches, flag poles, T-shirts, yearbooks, or dances, etc. is discouraged.”
“They’re trying to hush hush it from my point of view underneath the table,” Laurie Dean, a parent, said.
But some students say teen suicide needs to be discussed out in the open.
CBS2 made repeated attempts during business hours to get a response from the school and from the Acton-Agua Dulce School District but the station’s calls were not returned.