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Woman pushing for a law to honor seniors with posthumous diploma

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis woman said her son was on track to graduate from Pike High School when he was shot and killed.

She’s now pushing for a law to honor seniors who die before graduation with a posthumous diploma.

Sanekah Jackson Jones said a man from Texas messaged her about an idea for “Jerrold’s Law” in Indiana. He told her he also lost his son and fought to get his diploma in Texas and now he wants to help her do the same.

“I just told him how grateful I was. He was a complete stranger reaching out to me it just melted my heart,” she said. “It had me full of tears, but they weren’t sad tears they were tears of joy.”

Jackson-Jones said she thinks about her son Jerrold Parker every day.

“I still grieve every day. I can’t even go to the grocery store without thinking about something I’m supposed to get for him,” she said.

Her walls are filled with pictures and memories of him.

“My child really wanted to graduate for me he would have done anything, summer school, day school, night school to get it done for me,” she said.

But he never got that opportunity. Police said he was shot and killed in February over an argument on Twitter.

Jones went to the school board asking for son to be honored with a certificate of recognition or a posthumous diploma. The school board told her they didn’t have a policy to honor deceased students.

“I just felt like if you’re a human you should think about, if you were in my shoes you should want to know that you’re doing something for someone in your community for them to feel a little bit better about a situation,” she said.

They ended up giving her a certificate of recognition.

“I wanted go out and do something more,” she said. “I just didn’t know how to go about it.”

Jones said that’s until she received a message from a man named Jacob in Houston.

“They went through the same thing with their son he passed away in 2013 and when he passed away they had a hard time getting his diploma and then they basically got lawyers involved and found there was a law in Houston called Jennifer’s Law,” she said.

Jones said she read up on Jennifer’s Law which passed in 2007. She learned under that law, high school seniors who died be awarded a diploma provided they were on track to graduate.

The man from Houston also started a petition in Indiana for something similar called Jerrold’s Law.

“In five days over 730 people had signed it,” she said. “So I was very excited even 700 people cared.”

He also reached out to the State Representative Dan Forestal. Jones said she’s optimistic about the outcome.

“The state representative replied to him and told him that they were drawing up a proposal for it and they were going to look into it a little further,” she said.

Jones said she’s grateful to that man for helping her with the petition. Her goal is to help other families as well.

24-Hour News 8 reached out to the representative for an update, but did not hear back.