CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Cleveland Hill seniors organized the rally in memory of Kyra Franchetti. The Long Island 2-year-old was killed at the hands of her father in 2016. Since then, Franchetti’s mother has been on a crusade to keep history from repeating itself.
“Children of all ages are being murdered,” Mia Mychajliw, senior, at Cleveland Hill High School. This is happening and this is happening because of the continued failings of New York’s family court system.”
When Cleveland Hill senior Mia Mychajliw heard the story of Kyra Franchetti she jumped at the chance to make a difference.
“Her death was preventable, she should still be here today. And that really struck me,” said Mychajliw.
Kyra’s mother, Jacqueline, was pregnant with her when she left Kyra’s father.
Despite his history of abuse, Jacqueline said a forensic evaluator recommended joint custody. Shortly after, Kyra’s father shot and killed his two-year-old daughter while she slept.
He was never brought to justice, setting his house on fire and killing himself.
“Children’s safety must come first and remain at the heart of every decision being made regarding their custody,” added Mychajliw.
Cleve Hill seniors taking a participation in government class got behind the push for Kyra’s Law. The legislation calls for more transparency in custody decision-making by courts, and stronger consideration of the parents’ pasts.
Social studies teacher Daniel Scholz was on board and helped set up the awareness event.
“Especially with the legislative session ending very shortly, the budget talks as we know took a while,” said Scholz. “So, there’s not a lot of time to pass this law, so we want to make sure our elected officials in Albany know that the community is behind this and that they do what they need to do. It’s long overdue to protect children here in New York.”
Pinwheels, a symbol for child abuse prevention, dotted the field as students walked the track in support of Kyra’s Law.
One student pushed a stroller with Kyra’s favorite stuffed toy in it — Elmo.
Sunday, Jacqueline Franchetti attended a similar rally in Albany advocating in her daughter’s memory.
“Kyra was a silly, giggly, happy toddler,” Franchetti said. “She was fiercely independent, she loved Elmo, that’s why we have Elmo today here and minnie mouse. And she deserved to live.”
The National Children’s Alliance says more than 1,700 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States in 2020.
To learn more about Kyra’s Law, click here.
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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.