Mom of Murdered Teen Lobbies for Empty Chair for Son At Graduation

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MOLINE, Illinois – The mother of a murdered teenager is trying to get a seat for her dead son at his graduation.

Zac Phillips, 18, was shot to death in May in Moline. A 17-year-old has been charged with his slaying.

Phillips was supposed to graduate from United Township High School at a ceremony on Sunday, June 7,  at the IWireless Center.

His mom is now lobbying for an empty chair at the ceremony in his honor. But the school district says that’s not going to happen, WQAD-TV reports.

“I think his seat should be there with his cap on it where he would have been if he were alive. His classmates, his friends, they all expected that because in the practice, they had Zac’s seat empty, so that’s what they thought, too,” said Lyndsie McCoy, Zac’s mother.

She says she bought Zac’s cap and gown before he died, and wants to put the cap on the empty seat.

“I don’t think it’s a lot to ask,” she said.

The school says it plans to announce Zac’s name at the ceremony, and then award the diploma to his mom afterwards. A friend of his is also wearing Zac’s tassel on his cap.

“We are honoring Zach by announcing his name and letting his friend wear his tassel. Graduation is a ceremony honoring the entire class of 2015 and our honoring his name and tassel acknowledgement is a dignified, solemn way to honor Zach, while still honoring the entire class of approximately 400 graduates,” Superintendent Jay Morrow said in an emailed statement to WQAD-TV.

Meanwhile, McCoy says she has no idea why her son was shot, but says the person who did it should “spend the rest of his life in prison.”

She plans on going to the graduation on Sunday, but is still hoping the district reconsiders.

“It’s just as important to me as any other parent on their kid’s  graduation day,” she said.