Parents of students killed in crash ask to have memorial included in yearbook

Navi Nielsen and Bailey Packer (Staci Nielsen)

The past few months have been pretty painful for many at Centura High School and throughout the Cairo community. The lives of two promising young students ended in a car crash. Now school leaders and the families of those teens are wrestling with how to heal and how their lives should be honored.

Navi Nielsen and Bailey Packer were both juniors at Centura High when they died in a car crash in March.

Since then, their families have hoped to celebrate their lives by putting a tribute to the girls in the school's yearbook.

But Principal Tammy Holcomb said that is against school policy and the precedent that has been set in the past.

"We have to be mindful of everything that we do memorials steps that we take with our crisis team they have to be equitable,” Holcomb said. “They have to apply to well-loved students as they do to students that are less well known. Whatever the situation whether it's a car accident or a suicide, we have to be able to maintain those policies with an equitable response no matter the situation,"

Navi's parents Staci and Corey tell NTV they've received a tremendous amount of support from the Cairo community. Some even bring their Centura yearbooks from decades ago showing memorials of students who have died.

The Nielsens believe instead of having a blanket policy, school leaders should also weigh the opinions of the students and families.

"Every child's life matters,” Staci said. “If that's something that meant something to them or that family wants to put a tribute in their last yearbook I don't see how that could be a negative thing for anyone"

Both families have created a petition to show the school board in hopes of persuading them to allow both girls to have special recognition in the yearbook.

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