I received two emails from Riverside-Brookfield High School last week. One was a notice of an RB student’s death on Friday Oct. 12, 2012. Another stated that a large number of students had left the school building without permission at 1:18 p.m. on Monday Oct. 15, 2012.

On Oct. 15 I also received a phone call from RBHS that the walk out just happened. My freshman son did not know the boy, so I knew he was not leaving school. I went to Skyward anyway to check his attendance. He was still in school. I grabbed my camera and arrived to the memorial as they were finishing.

The Brookfield police had the streets blocked off and the assistant principal was right in the heart of the cluster of mourning teens. There were adults around the edge of the crowd keeping an eye of who was present along with police.

I wasn’t sure why I went. As I watched these kids, it dawned on me. I also had lost a school friend tragically in 1982. There was no student service support team back then. There were no e-mails out to our parents or any communication on the psychology of how to respond to traumatic events, emotional and physical.

It follows me to this day. I relived it for years in my head over and over.

This rebellious memorial was closure in a teenage manner, especially for this age bracket of skateboarders. I was there; it was done with grace. Yes, the students at RBHS must claim responsibility for their actions by taking the unexcused marks for the day. Thank you to the staff at RBHS for being right on target and following through with the protection of our students. This is all in the name of our next generation.

Kristin Gembara