The senior class president of Truman High School has been barred from attending Friday’s graduation ceremony because of fears that he will be shot by a gang, school officials said.
Police said the student, Tyrone Lewis, 18, could be targeted because his sister, Rachael, had testified against a reputed member of a Trenton, N.J., gang in a murder trial.
However, Lewis’ mother, Marlene Lewis, said she did not believe there was a plot against her son.
“I've talked to people in the neighborhood. They look at me like I'm crazy — they haven’t heard anything,” Marlene Lewis told The Philadelphia Inquirer for a story published Saturday. “It’s just a rumor. They get rumors every day.”
Tyrone Lewis had been scheduled to be a commencement speaker. Bristol Township Police Chief James McAndrew said that if Lewis wished to address his classmates, he could do a live video broadcast from a secure location.
Lewis is devastated by the decision, according to his mother, who said she planned to take the school district to court.
“How are you going to take that away from him?” Marlene Lewis said. “He’s a great kid. ... It’s a shame such a good kid is being railroaded like this. They should let him go to the graduation.”
Metal detectors were to be used at the school from Tuesday through Friday, and beefed-up police presence was planned for the graduation ceremony, officials said.
“We’re doing everything possible to make the stadium safe,” school board vice President Sherri Champey said. “I can’t guarantee everyone’s safety 100 percent, but I am going to rely on the police to do their job.”