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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Parents Blame School for Son’s Suicide

VALMEYER, Ill. (CN) - Repeated interrogations by a school official drove a student to kill himself, the boy's parents claim in Monroe County Court. They say Valmeyer school district Superintendent Brian Charron questioned 15-year-old Brandon C. Williams so aggressively, denigrating and threatening him, that the boy shot himself.

Brandon, 15, was a sophomore at Valmeyer High School. His parents say the superintendent interrogated him on two days in October 2008 about a missing master key to the school.

Charron allegedly told Williams he'd be charged with a felony and that his parents would have to pay $16,000 to cover the cost of changing the school's locks.

The key was stolen by another student and was passed to Williams, who passed it to another student, the lawsuit states. After questioning, Williams' parents say, their son and the other student anonymously returned the key by placing it in an envelope and put it on the windshield of Charron's vehicle.

On Oct. 29, 2008, Charron allegedly questioned Williams for a third time, pounded his fist on his desk, screamed at the boy, kicked a trash can across his office, called Williams worthless and sent him home. Charron then called Williams' mother and told her that the boy would be suspended pending an expulsion hearing, but Williams shot himself in the head before his parents got home that day, his parents say.

The parents say Charron was negligent by not notifying them immediately and by not having them present for the questioning. The parents are represented by Stephen Buser of Columbia, Ill.

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