LUNENBURG (CBS) – The field house bearing A.J. Robbins’ name welcomes athletes to Lunenburg High, but A.J.’s family now feels pushed away.
“I don’t even have words to tell you what I am feeling right now. It’s disgusting. It is just ignorant – that’s the only word I can think of. It is just really ignorant is that someone would do something like that,” said Scott Robbins, A.J.’s father.
In 2016, during the summer following graduation, A.J. was in a car with a drunk driver. He was killed when they crashed.
“They all loved A.J. A.J. was loved by everybody,” said Scott Robbins.
When the fieldhouse opened in August to a few weeks ago, A.J.’s football jersey hung inside. It’s now in Scott Robbins’ possession. He found the jersey on a table. It had been taken down with no explanation.
“The way they handled it. It was unprofessional and lacked compassion,” said Carol Robbins, A.J.’s mother.
The community raised money and volunteered to build the field house in A.J.’s name. The school committee says it doesn’t mean his jersey automatically gets hung on its walls.
“We didn’t order it taken down,” said School Committee Chair Heather Sroka.
Wednesday night the school committee was expected to vote on a policy that would not allow the jersey hung. A previous proposed memorial at the fieldhouse was nixed over concerns it would make students sad. A.J.’s family and friends filled the room.
“Without really consulting anyone- just felt very disrespectful,” said one student addressing the school committee.
“This project was supposed to be good. It was out of goodness,” said Bill Iannacci the foundation organizer.
In response to the crowd, the committee scheduled another meeting to discuss if the number 71 jersey will go back up in the fieldhouse named for A.J.
“It’s his football jersey. It’s a sports jersey. That’s what this is,” said Carol Robbins.
To Scott Robbins putting the jersey back on the wall means everything. “Everything, that’s what I want and know that what he wants to. I just want them to do the right thing,” Robbins said.