Mother sues over daughter’s suicide

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Cathy Decker

Times Record

ALEDO — The mother of a Mercer County High School student who took her own life last spring is suing the school district.

Bridget Carlson, mother of Valerie Michelle Carlson, filed the civil suit March 28 in Mercer County Court against Mercer County School District 404, Mercer County High School, principal Stacey Day and guidance counselor Tami Hainds.

Valerie Carlson was a student at MCHS during the 2017-2018 school year; she committed suicide March 28, 2018, four days after her 15th birthday.

The suit alleges that the Valerie was harassed by other students and bullied at school for her manner of dress, hairstyle and sexual orientation.

The suit also alleges school district employees “digressed from their duties after receiving several reports of the decedent having cut marks on her person which were viewed by students.” Students were alleged to have made fun of the cut marks. Valerie Carlson’s cutting was brought to the attention of the principal and guidance counselor, but nothing was done.

The suit alleges the district’s policies prohibit “any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically … that could be reasonably predicted to have the effect of placing the student in fear or harm of the student’s person or property.”

One allegation in the suit states that on March 28, 2018, Valerie was told by another student she should “go home and kill herself.” Carlson claims those named in the lawsuit did not contact her, law enforcement or health care providers promptly. Approximately four hours later the girl was found hanged in her residence.

Carlson is seeking judgment of $50,000 plus the cost of the suit against all four defendants. No date has been set for a hearing on the suit. Carlson is represented by Warner & Zimmerle, Rock Island.