Families want students killed in car wrecks included in graduati - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Families want students killed in car wrecks included in graduation

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EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

The voices are growing louder in Effingham County for two teenage girls who died in tragic car accidents one year apart.

Their families and friends said they both would have graduated this year, and they want them included in the graduation ceremony at South Effingham High School.

So far, the request has not been granted.

What each family wants, as well as some of the classmates of Halie McKirgan and Lacey Longworth, is for a chair to be put out with a photo of each girl with a sash and their name on it and their names to be read.

The board of education said they need some time to think about it.

"This is something, if they were here, they would be proud of, and given the chance, they would be walking across the stage," said Misty Driggers, McKirgan's mother.

Watching her daughter wave to her from the stage, diploma in hand, is a dream Driggers had ripped away from her two years ago when McKirgan, 16, was killed in a car wreck.

A year later, McKirgan's best friend, Longworth, and her brother Henry, died in a crash on Bay Road. Longworth had just started her senior year.

"She was a senior," said Longworth's aunt, Shannon Wiley. "We can't help it she was in an accident, same with Halie. She was a junior, but she was taking college classes. She should be honored just like Lacie does."

"They've gone to school with these people since kindergarten, and they know they will be missing two classmates," said Driggers.

According to the families and students, getting a response from the board of education though hasn't been easy though.

"We couldn't get them to call, couldn't get them to email us back, couldn't get them to do anything," said Driggers.

Driggers started a petition in her daughter's name so others wont have to fight in the future. In 24 hours, 50 signatures grew and grew.

"Now there is like, 1,200," said Wiley.

"It's absolutely wonderful," said Driggers. "We have people all the way from Hawaii, Canada, to the Netherlands."

"I think it's awesome," said Wiley. "It is amazing to see a community come together."

"To me, there is nothing to think about," said Driggers. "If the children were here, they would pick up diplomas anyway."

That's what Effingham County School Superintendent Randy Shearhouse said they need to do, talk to both families, determine some guidelines and find out what the best way to handle the situation.

He said nobody was ignored; the board of education just wants to make sure they handle this sensitive situation the right way.

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