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Knoxville School Cuts Down Tree Planted for Fallen Soldier

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 2716

Pfc. Caleb Lufkin

Pfc. Caleb Lufkin

The Knoxville School District is taking plenty of heat for cutting down a tree at Knoxville High School that was originally planted in honor of a local soldier who died weeks after being injured in combat.

District-202 Superintendent Steve Wilder issued the mea culpa of sorts yesterday, admitting that while construction is continuing for the new addition to Knoxville High School, a number of trees were cut down — one of which had been planted, believed to be in 2007, to memorialize Army Private First Class Caleb Lufkin.

Lufkin died in late-May of 2006, weeks after a roadside bomb detonated in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Wilder says the tree — on the west side of Jensen Gym — was cut down late last fall.  A memorial plaque for the tree couldn’t be found, Wilder says, but it was determined at that time that if the the purpose of the tree could be identified, a new tree would be planted.

Wilder says he’s apologized to Lufkin’s family, and said that a new tree and marker will be taken care of.

The apology, though, has resulted in very little forgiveness on the district’s Facebook page. Some say they know the district will do the right things, others saying they’re surprised the district didn’t cover it up, with others still feeling like the district isn’t going to live up to its word.