Mundelein High sued over teen's suicide
A lawsuit filed by the family of a 14-year-old Mundelein High School student accuses school officials of failing to use state-mandated suicide prevention protocols that could have prevented her death.
In the complaint filed Monday in Lake County circuit court, Mundelein High School District 120 is accused of not having in place a new suicide prevention policy and complying with other aspects of Illinois' Ann Marie's Law when freshman Mikyla Wren died Oct. 26, 2015.
No financial damages are being sought in the suit filed by the family, including her mother, Dr. Kelly Wren; grandfather, former District 120 school board member Thomas M.P. Hannigan; and grandmother Pamela Hannigan. Instead, the family is asking a judge to order the district to comply with Ann Marie's Law and seeks compensation for attorney fees and court costs.
Thomas Hannigan said a lack of answers regarding Mikyla from District 120 led to the lawsuit.
"We're never going to be able to bring our precious granddaughter back," he said.
District 120 spokesman Ron Girard declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
Signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in August 2015, Ann Marie's Law mandates all Illinois public schools provide age-appropriate suicide and depression awareness and prevention education programs for students in kindergarten through senior year of high school.
District 120 is accused of not having the updated suicide awareness and prevention plan in place before the 2015-16 academic year, as required. Under the law, a school is supposed to have protocols for dealing with students who show signs of being at risk for suicide.
On Oct. 15, 2015, a Mundelein High dean contacted Mikyla's mother to say the girl was discovered using the word "suicide" on her school-issued laptop computer, according to the suit. It's alleged the girl's mother, an emergency room doctor, immediately requested a risk assessment from the school social work department.
However, Mikyla was not able to see a school counselor until Oct. 21, 2015, according to the complaint filed by attorney Steven Glink. The counselor did not follow up with Mikyla's mother about what was discussed, the suit says. The girl took her life Oct. 26.
The Mundelein High website indicates the school's suicide awareness and prevention policy was last updated in 1999, the lawsuit alleges. In part, the suit claims District 120 failed to properly adopt a new policy and did not inform teachers and parents of a new policy.
Glink said Mikyla's family wants justice for her and is "committed to ensuring that similar tragedies don't happen to any another family in the future."
Ann Marie's Law is named for Ann Marie Blaha, an 11-year-old Orland Park student who died in June 2013.