This is a story that won’t go away, and it shouldn’t; questions need to be answered, and policy needs to be clarified. It involves the tragic suicide death (January 11th) of Naperville North student Corey Walgren. No parent should ever have to read a sentence with the words ‘suicide death’ along with the name of their child in it.
The details of the event are heartbreaking for all those involved, either directly or indirectly. A student, in this case an honor student, gets called into an office to speak with a dean of students and a school resource (police) officer regarding an alleged sex video, which turned out to be an audio. After a brief discussion, the student is left “unattended” except for a school employee busy with work, leaves the office, walks less than a mile to a parking garage and jumps off a parking deck to his death. This all happened within less than three hours. One can only imagine what was running through this young boy’s mind during those few hours, and especially minutes before his final and needless fateful decision. He’s gone, nothing can bring him back, and for him this horrible period of time is over. His emotional and physical pain no longer exist. For others the emotional pain remains.
This is where the story becomes boilerplate. A lawsuit has been filed naming the resource police officer, the school dean, along with school district (203), and the Naperville police department. As expected the school district and police department are washing their hands of any responsibility by claiming policy was followed. No one is talking other than to deny, deny, followed by more denial. How ironic that school system officials and police department heads portray honesty, and forthright communication as pillars for their foundation of trust and integrity, yet when they are asked to display accountability they run for cover.
Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall’s answer is that an internal police review showed no wrongdoing on resource officer’s part. School district officials confirmed that the dean of students followed protocol. I guess with those determinations, everything worked, all is fine, and there’s nothing to see here, so just keep moving along.
Those non-answers are not good enough; parents want real answers and change. If policy was followed, then policy needs to be changed. Considering that Marshall and District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges are two of the highest paid government employees in Naperville, solid, truthful answers need to be forthcoming, and drastic changes to an obviously flawed policy need to be corrected, with both Marshall and Bridges leading the way.