Illinois School System Sued Over Suicide of Student

Wrongful Death

The parents of an Illinois high school student who killed himself last fall have filed a wrongful death suit against the school district and the superintendent, blaming them for having a role in his death. They say the superintendant threatened the 15-year-old over a missing master key so aggressively that the boy went home and shot himself after the interrogation.

Threats of expulsion, felony charges, jail time and fines began after a missing master key was used to access a school concession stand after hours. A group of students were questioned about the event. After a third interrogation by the superintendant, who threatened the boy and said other students said he was involved, the boy made a kind of confession. He said he had a role in the missing master key, but had never accessed the school’s property. The superintendant refused to believe him, began screaming in his face, hit his desk with a fist, and even kicked a trashcan across the office. He also allegedly called the student “worthless.” The boy was then suspended.

The lawsuit says the boy called a friend when he got home and said he was “scared, humiliated, embarrassed and depressed” before killing himself. He died the next day.

The lawsuit claims the school district contributed to the boy’s death by causing severe emotional distress, and that the interrogations violated district policy by not involving the parents. The parents of the student are seeking at least $50,000.

Anyone who has ever been a teenager knows that they do stupid things that they may regret, and sometimes have serious consequences. However, in no way should a 15-year-old boy be made to feel as this one did by a grown man, no matter what that boy allegedly did. The phrase “act like a grownup” applies here. If nothing else, the parents should have been involved from the beginning. Things may have turned out very different if the school district took a step back and actually remembered that the student welfare always comes first, with very few exceptions.