Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mom rips CPS for no visit after son's death

A day after her teenage son drowned in a boating accident during a school trip, Sharon Gowdy lashed out at Chicago Public Schools for failing to send any officials to her West Side home to inform her of her son's death, offer condolences or explain what happened.

Jimmy Avant, 18, and two classmates, Adrian Jones, 16, and Melvin Choice III, 17, were among 31 high-achieving students from North Lawndale College Prep -- a CPS charter high school -- attending a retreat in McHenry County.

They sneaked out about 1 a.m. Friday and took paddle boats onto the Fox River, but did not realize plugs under the boats had been removed to prepare them for winter. The boats started to sink, and the teens drowned.

On Saturday, Gowdy said no officials from the public school system or its charter that her son attended had visited her home.

CPS officials admitted Saturday that was true but said that after speaking with Gowdy by phone Friday, a counselor did not feel she was ready for a visit.
"I trusted those people with my son, and they let him die. They don't have the decency to come here and say they were sorry," the distraught mother said.

A CPS spokesman said Avant's counselor at North Lawndale College Prep had placed a call to the family, and that Principal Robert Karpinski left a message to see if he could stop by, but didn't hear back.
I was going to call this story messed up, but it looks more like a misunderstanding. Although I'll have to agree with the mother someone should have visited her home. Also Duncan plans to visit this family today.

You can read another perspective on this tragedy over at the McHenry County Blog authored by a former Illinois State Representative and former Libertarian Gubernatorial candidate, Cal Skinner. He also blogs at Illinoize.

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