Thousands of Facebook Members Show Support For a Small Town High School Senior
By Tim Martin
Man, WV as of 2009 reported a population of 697 people, but 1 high school senior has over 7,000 followers on Facebook supporting him in a tragic situation.
The school administration in Man, WV is not allowing Andrew Eldridge to attend his high school prom due to excessive absences. If a student has 8 or more unexcused absences, that student is not permitted to attend the prom that school year.
In September of 2009, Andrew lost his mother, Shirley, unexpectedly because of a car wreck. Andrew's mom was a custodian at his school for over 10 years. Andrew has 15 unexcused absences for the year. Andrew showed up at school on that morning of prom with a doctor's excuse for the absences, but the principal refused it stating that a doctor's excuse must be turned in within 10 days of an absence.
Eldridge's official website says that he missed more than a week of school due to funeral arrangements, hospital visits and time off. Since his mother's death, Eldridge admits he has missed more since his mother's death, but has been struggling to cope with losing her. Andrew also says on his website, "I wish they would just see in their hearts to let me go because I'm never going to be able to go again."
Andrew did not get to attend his senior prom. Students are organizing a private party for Andrew though. A Facebook page was started to get supporters together and try to come up with a way to overturn this decision, but failed.
But it did succeed in sharing this story with thousands of people. Andrew is 1 of the 697 (population as of 2009) people that live in Man, WV but he has over 7000 supporters on Facebook. Go back 10 years ago....If this would have 10 years ago, I'm sure local media would run stories about this tragedy and plenty of local supporters, but now Andrew has over 7000 supporters all over the country. Knowing you have over 7000 people thinking about you, and caring if you get to attend your high school prom should at least make you feel a little better over this horrible situation.
I understand there is a policy in place for a reason, but exceptions have to be made from time to time. There are plenty of reasons to allow this exception.
If you would like to read more of Andrews story or make a donation towards his private prom, you can visit Andrew's website here. Also if you would like to show moral support and let him know that his story is important to you, head on over to Andrew's Facebook page.
Shirley, Andrews mom gave over 10 years of service at that high school. Right there is reason enough to let him too; Shirley may be gone now, but the school could have at least allowed her son to attend his prom out of respect for an employee that passed away tragically. Andrew was a good student. He never got in trouble and was an honor roll student. Should the school not take care of the kids that behave and try hard? A good part of Andrews 15 absences was due to funeral arrangements and grieving. Getting over losing a parent is very hard. It takes a lot of time. Also Andrew saw his mom every day in that school. I'm sure Andrew has plenty of memories of her there, which would make it harder to heal being there every day right away. Andrew was able to present a doctors excuse for the absences, but then the school has another policy that a doctor excuse has to be turned in within 10 days of the days missed. And finally how about, it's just the right thing to do? What has happened to doing the right thing for people even if you have to break a rule or policy in particular circumstance. Shame on you school administrators.
Tim Martin is a Technology Specialist, Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/tsmartin75 or on Twitter @tsmartin.
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