SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Shelby County mother grieving the loss of her son is pushing to have him honored at his high school graduation.
Tina Poppleton Ritchie lost her son Chandler in 2017.
"Not always a perfect kid but he was good, he had a big heart and loved everybody," Poppleton Ritchie said.
One June night heading home from work, Chandler was in the back seat of a friend's car when it crashed. The car flipped and Chandler was ejected out the back window. He died at the hospital. He was just 16 years old.
"I miss him everyday," Poppleton Ritchie said.
Many moments have been taken from her in the days and weeks since her son's death. She was looking forward to the spring of 2019, to what would have been Chandler's graduation.
"That's a proud mom moment to watch your kid walk across the graduation stage," she said.
She won't have that moment, but still plans on attending graduation and was hoping the school would do something for her son.
"Normally they leave just an empty chair for him with his name, you know say his name," Poppleton Ritchie said. "I wasn't expecting anything a diploma or anything."
She called to ask and says Shelby County High School's response surprised her.
"That it was policy that they didn't do that for anybody that has passed," she said. "His life got cut short and that's not his fault and he should be recognized, everybody should."
She says she was told Chandler didn't have enough credits to graduate.
She understands that, but can't wrap her head around why the school won't do anything to honor her son's memory.
It's clear her community is behind her. An online petition has thousands of signatures in just a few days. She's hoping the school will change its mind.
"He's here in spirit and everybody loved him, it's just hard to understand," she said. "I hope no other parent has to go through this because they just broke my heart all over again."
WDRB reached out to a spokesperson for Shelby County Schools Sunday asking if there is policy in place. We did not get a response.
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