The parents of a deceased 16-year-old high school student in Chicago have sued the police, school, and individually involved personnel, as a result of their son's suicide. Corey Walgren jumped from the fifth floor of a parking garage after being interrogated by the school's police liaison and school's dean regarding an alleged crime.
It is alleged that Corey was threatened with possession and distribution of child pornography charges, and told he would have to register on the sex offender registry, while being interrogated at school. After the interrogation ended, while his mother was en route to pick him up from school, Corey walked out of the school's office and into a downtown Naperville parking garage, where he climbed to the fifth floor and jumped. He did not pass until later that day.
Details of the Case
The lawsuit alleges that Corey was interrogated in violation of the law requiring a minor's parents to be notified. Additionally, it is alleged that Corey was not advised of his right to an attorney, nor of his right to remain silent. After approximately 18 minutes of being interrogated, the questioning stopped when the dean and officer searched his phone and didn't find any child pornography. Corey's mother was then notified, and asked to consent to a further search. However, she requested they wait until she arrived at the school.
Corey's parents are alleging that the stress caused by the interrogation and accusations led their child to commit suicide. To make matters worse, the child pornography allegations were never sustained.
Minors Have Rights
Even though many school kids might feel like they don't have any rights, the U.S. Constitution still applies to them. Schools may be able to conduct limited warrantless searches, or detain students for limited purposes, but students don't just give up their constitutional rights when they walk onto a school's campus.
When it comes to questioning a student about a crime, police officers must still provide the Miranda warning, which explains to a suspect that they have the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney.