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A Hero's Fitting Tribute?

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Jacksboro, Campbell County (WVLT) - Some Campbell County High School students vow that a no from their school board, won't be the final answer.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd has been asking what next, after board members voted not to name Lafollette's new consolidated elementary school after the assistant principal killed in a shooting at the high school last year.

Students and board members both claim their convictions focus on helping Campbell County heal.

Instead, last night's vote has left many wondering whether the wounds have been widened and deepened.

"I really thought we would talk about who this man was, and why we named this school because this was this wonderfully amazing man," Ken Bruce's widow says she suspected that petitions by themselves, wouldn't be enough to sway school board members votes.

"If anything shocked me last night, it was the way they cut those people off," says Jo Bruce.

"Most of the people who were set to talk last night, didn't get a chance to," says School Board Member Craig Cannon.

Mostly junior board member Chris Cannon, and others in his high school journalism class.

Prime movers to getting Lafollette's new elementary school named for Ken Bruce.

"Shouldn't you listen to your students, we are you're future?" says petition drive co-organizer Mary Beth Vincent.

Campbell County's superintendent has been unavailable for comment.

Faye Heatherly insists she and fellow board members simply followed the county's wishes.

That the #1 concern was to allow children to heal.

And that a Ken Bruce Elementary School simply would keep reminding them of the shooting took his life.

"You're always gonna think about it, no matter what," says Vincent.

"Maybe they still have some work to do, to heal themselves, through this," says Bruce. "You don't have to be like, he was murdered that day, you can just he like, he passed away, in the line of duty."

Students say will never stop believing Ken Bruce deserves more than a monument in granite, more than a memorial garden.

"What I don't want to see happen is this group that has finally found their voice and is so brave, to stop. I want them to keep marching for what they believe in."

Lessons learned, on the tragedy's first anniversary.

Re-affirmed, by Thursday night's loss.

Many students say they want to follow Jo Bruce's lead.

She tells us she would not favor renaming the high school for her late husband, because that would focus attention on the tragedy rather than his memory.

Board members have said they're open to other tributes.

But nobody' put up a concrete idea yet.


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