(CBS) — A suburban family is suing their daughter’s school district after the 14-year-old killed herself.
Her relatives allege the school broke a new state law when it comes to preventing suicide, CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports.
In every picture, Mikyla Wren is smiling. You would never know the teen was struggling with depression so bad, she took her own life almost a year ago.
She was barely a freshman at Mundelein High School when teachers made a disturbing discovery.
“I don’t know if it said I’m thinking about it… but the word ‘suicide’ was in a paper she wrote and it led the school to believe she was thinking about it,” the family attorney Steven Glink said.
Administrators reached out to her, who was aware of her daughter’s depression, and she asked school social workers to meet with Mikyla.
“Three or four days… later the mom checks and they go, ‘No we’ve been too busy but we will have somebody get on it,’ then Mom never hears from them again,” Glink said.
Mikyla hanged herself five days after the school notified her mother.
The family is now suing the school district claiming state-mandated suicide prevention procedures known as Ann Marie’s Law were never in place and that Mikyla may still be alive today if the school did their part.
“This is the text book case of why this law was passed and it was utter failure by the school,” the family attorney says.
“All school teachers, all school administrators should certainly have the training so that they feel comfortable supporting kids in crisis,” says mental health professional Alexa James. She also says implementation in schools is half the battle.
“There is a tremendous amount of responsibility on school districts to appropriately train their staff and to have a really strong policy protocol in place to support children who are in crisis,” James says.
The family attorney says the suicide procedures at Mundelein haven’t been updated since 1999. The family is not seeking monetary damages, they only want the procedures put in place, and their attorneys fees paid for.
The school district told CBS 2 today that they don’t comment on pending litigation.