Freeport School Board announces it will remove memorials honoring two alumni

FREEPORT, Ill (WIFR) -- Update: The School Board announces it will work with the families to remove the memorials. In a statement Superintendent Anna Alvarado says "The stones were installed without prior knowledge of the Board. It is our understanding that the person(s) contacted about acceptance and installation was not authorized to approve either acceptance or installation."

Courtesy Sharie Hoster

The statement goes on to say "The Board empathizes with the family and apologize for any additional hurt that this has caused."

Two stone memorials sit cemented down at the Freeport High School football stadium. Each honors a former student that died in February, 2019.

Both men, Kyle Tucker, 35 and Shaun Bradbury, 36 were notable football alumni, taking the team to a State Championship, and beating out Boylan High School in the 2000 Homecoming game. Last February Tucker and Bradbury were shot and killed at the Cedar Inn bar.

Their former classmates banded together to raise money for a memorial. In September they unveiled two large stones with the men's names engraved. Today they line the stadium, and look out to the field.

"I thought it was a great honor," says Tucker's mother, Sharie Hoster. "Now that I've seen them there I just feel like that's where they belong."

Hoster says some school board members want them removed, saying they can't feel obligated to put up a memorial for every former student that dies. Hoster believes this situation isn't average.

"They were murdered," she tells 23 News.

She says the board also argued no one had permission to place the statues there in the first place. At Tuesday night's board meeting, Hoster and her family spoke out.

"Our families have been through enough. And I want answers," she said to the board. Those answers will come Wednesday, according to Board President Janice Crutchfield.

"I need you and your family to understand that we do empathize with you. And we understand and I feel your pain," Crutchfield told the family Tuesday. "Nobody around the table does not feel your pain."

Crutchfield says the board will release a statement on the decision Wednesday. She says they will personally contact Tucker's family before.

Hoster says she's in shock the board allowed the memorial, and is considering moving them. "I can't believe that this was ever a thought to do this," she explains. "It's so disrespectful. I feel like they're literally digging up their grave."

23 News will update the story once the statement is released.