CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - A Hickory High school student who died this year was not named in the yearbook. Family and friends believe he was intentionally omitted because he committed suicide.
Ethan Schumacher, 16, was a sophomore at Hickory. He died in December.
When the yearbook came out last week, friends scanned the pages for his name. It was not with the other sophomores, not in the index, or on the page for Schumacher's junior varsity football team.
"You can look at two pictures and you know he's supposed to be between those two people," said Chloe Stearns, a friend. "He's not there."
Between the last names "Schools" and "Scott," "Schumacher" is missing. There is no indication he was ever a a Hickory Hawk.
"You don't have to do anything special. I'm not asking for a memorial, no bells and whistles, I don't need a hall named after him," said David Schumacher, Ethan's father. "But put his name where it's supposed to be."
David Schumacher believes his son's name was omitted from the yearbook intentionally. He went to the Hickory High School principal for answers. She told him they didn't have Ethan's picture on file because he wasn't at school when the pictures were taken.
Yet, in the same yearbook, there are pictures that list students "not pictured" in certain photographs.
Schumacher was never contacted by the school about how he would like his son to appear in the yearbook. He was shocked when Ethan's friends told him there was no mention of him.
"It's just a tragedy on top of a tragedy when we could have been using this as a way to educate and prevent," said Schumacher.
Meanwhile, Ethan's friends started a petition to draw attention. It has more than 200 signatures. Students wore homemade shirts in the halls to put this in writing: Ethan Schumacher will not be forgotten.
"I feel like it doesn't matter the way you die," said Stearns. "The fact is he did die, and it's still a lost life, and he should still be honored for it."
A school spokesperson told WAVY.com he could not address specific students, but that no one was intentionally left out of the yearbook.
Ethan's friends hope the school will consider creating a policy about how to recognize deceased students in the yearbook, so this will not happen to someone else in the future.
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