'Corey's Goal' aims to educate schools on disciplinary issues
Nearly a year after their son's meeting with Naperville North High School officials, which led to his suicide, Corey Walgren's family is taking action to prevent it from happening to another student.
The Walgren family recently created Corey's Goal, a charity aimed at helping raise awareness and educating schools, students and parents about the handling of serious school disciplinary matters. The Corey's Goal website is full of useful information about what a student's constitutional rights are, how schools can help better support the emotional well-being of students, and risks parents should now about.
A main objective is to make sure a student's parent is involved in serious disciplinary matters.
"Parents should be present when they're being questioned," said Maureen Walgren. "If it's not an imminently dangerous situation, why can't they wait?"
On Jan. 11 of this year, Corey Walgren, 16, was questioned by two school deans and a Naperville police officer about a video on his phone, and according to a lawsuit the Walgren family filed against the school district in May, they caused "extreme and excessive psychological distress and fear" by suggesting that he possessed child pornography and could be placed on a sex offender registry. The school called Walgren's mother, who said she was leaving work and would be there in 50 minutes. But before she got there, Walgren -- an honor roll student with no previous disciplinary history -- left the school and jumped to his death off the fifth floor of the Naperville parking garage.
"Why couldn't they have waited 20-30 minutes for me to come to the school? It would have changed the outcome had I been present at the school. There's a better way to handle these type of serious disciplinary issues," she said.
Since their story became public, the Walgrens have heard stories from people around the U.S. who shared stories of how school officials intimidated and scared their children, leaving them suicidal afterward.
That's what led the Walgrens to create the charity.
"It really opened our eyes," Maureen Walgren said. "What can be done better so it doesn't continue to happen?"
The first fundraiser for Corey's Goal will be held Sunday, Feb. 4, the day before what would have been Corey's 18th birthday. It's a Super Bowl party, called Corey's Super Goal Party, because he liked to have Super Bowl birthday parties.
It's from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Bobak's Signature Events in Woodridge, and will feature a silent auction and raffle. Tickets are available at CoreysGoal.org.
Proceeds will be used toward the charity, and to help fund a scholarship in his memory for the Naperville North hockey club where he had played.