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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Back issues
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Mom Blames School for Son’s Death

CHICAGO (CN) - A 10-year-old boy died, hung by the neck in an elementary school bathroom stall, and his mother blames the school for not searching for him when he turned up absent from gym class. The mother says her son died a year ago at Oakton Elementary School, in Evanston.

In her complaint in Cook County Court, Angel Marshall says her son, Aquan Lewis, was a fifth-grade student at Oakton Elementary when he was found hung by the back of his shirt on the door hook of a bathroom stall.

His "feet were several inches above the floor level" and he was "bleeding from his nose," his mother says. She says there was blood beneath him and also several feet away near a bathroom window. She says there was "additional physical evidence," including footprints and fingerprints, in a neighboring stall.

Marshall says that the boy's teacher, defendant Charles Matthews, did not account for her son's whereabouts when he went missing. She says her son was found almost 30 minutes after Matthews gathered the children in a single file line and walked them to gym class. She says her son had planned that morning to participate in basketball practice after school.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the boy's death a suicide, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune reported that Lewis allegedly had threatened to kill himself earlier that day after being "scolded by a teacher."

Evanston police call it "an ongoing 'death investigation,'" and the mother responded to the medical examiner's ruling by saying, "My baby did not kill himself ... You all need to get in that school and look at that stall," the Tribune reported.

She demands damages for negligence and wrongful death from Evanston Skokie School District 65, Oakton Elementary, the teacher and seven other people, presumably school employees, whose positions are not described in the complaint.

Her lead counsel is Todd Smith with Power Rogers & Smith.

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