Mother of teen who died by suicide 'because of COVID isolation' sues Pritzker
Editor's note: This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
An Illinois mother of a teenager who killed himself during the coronavirus pandemic is suing Gov. JB Pritzker over COVID-19 restrictions, telling "The Faulkner Focus" on Thursday, "My son died because of COVID isolation."
Lisa Mara Moore’s son Trevor Till, who was hoping to go to the state championships for pole vaulting in his senior year of high school but couldn’t because of coronavirus restrictions, committed suicide in October. Moore said she believes "100 percent" that the lockdown "changed Trevor from who he was to the person that did this."
Moore joined the parents of three other student-athletes who are suing Pritzker over his decision to cancel the winter high school sports season, claiming their children suffered severe emotional and physical harm because of the restrictions, The Chicago Sun Times reported.
The newspaper noted that the suit claims that Pritzker’s cancellation ‘‘is an unconstitutional violation of the Plaintiffs’ right to equal protection under the Constitution of the State of Illinois.’’
Moore, the lead plaintiff, told host Harris Faulkner on Thursday that her son "was an all-around awesome boy," who did well in school, was an Illinois state scholar, and also participated on the speech team and the cross country team at Seneca High School.
The lawsuit reportedly said that ‘‘Trevor was devastated that he didn’t have his senior year track and pole vaulting season" and that ‘‘the final blow was when winter sports were canceled. Trevor committed suicide on October 21, 2020, a proximate cause of which was Governor Pritzker’s restrictions on high school sports programs."
A spokesperson with Pritzker’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
"He truly enjoyed being at school," Moore said of her son. "That's where his heart and soul was."
"He was an awesome brother. He was an awesome son. He was my person," she added as she became emotional. "I miss him so much."
Moore said she noticed changes in her son as the weeks of being in lockdown progressed.
"He's a teenage boy. They need their friends. They need the interaction. They need the socialization," she told Faulkner. "He was that student in the classroom that raised his hand, got the conversations going. Doing that from Zoom, doing that from his bedroom, it was not the same feeling for him."
"I saw him started to get just a little depressed."
Trevor Till and mother Lisa Mara Moore
The group's attorney, Laura Grochocki of the nonprofit organization Remember America Action, filed the suit last month in LaSalle County Circuit Court.
Appearing with Moore on "The Faulkner Focus" Grochocki said, "Unfortunately, in Illinois and I think in many, many other places, I think the elites in power, they've dismissed high school students."
She went on to say that "this is a clear violation of the equal protection rights of high school students in Illinois."
Grochocki noted that professional sports and college sports have been able to continue during the pandemic "because they’re rich and powerful," but for high schools, "the state has classified basketball and football and wrestling and Frisbee as high risk sports and have canceled them until very, very recently."
"I think there's something amiss here that high school students have been treated and discriminated against, which is why we filed this," she added.
Pritzker responded to the lawsuit during a daily coronavirus update last month, The Chicago Sun Times reported.
‘‘Professional sports and college sports have significant resources for protecting their players,’’ Pritzker said. ‘‘For creating social distance, for example, by having multiple locker rooms; by making sure they have plexiglass everywhere that they need to separate the players; to test them on a much more regular basis than an individual high school or district could afford. That’s why there is a difference.’’
Grochocki told Faulkner on Thursday that the "problem" with Pritzker’s argument "is that he's not put any restrictions on them [professional sports and college sports] to do anything, to take no precautions whatsoever."
On Thursday, Moore had advice for parents who are noticing a change of behavior in their children who have been isolated.
"I tell parents helicopter the heck out of your kids, watch them, watch for any change, any slight change in their behavior, make opportunities for them to see their friends, do whatever you have to," Moore said as she held back tears.
"I don't want any other mother or father or parent or sibling to have to go through this. It’s horrific."