School District Objecting To WRMJ Request For Extended Media Coverage In Carlson Lawsuit

An attorney for the Mercer County School District has filed an objection to WRMJ’s request for extended media coverage in a lawsuit stemming from the death of a 15-year old student in 2018. Extended media coverage allows for cameras and microphones in the courtroom, but the school district attorney, C. Frazier Satterly of Peoria contends in her filing that extended media coverage “would materially interfere with the right of the parties to a fair trial.” She also argues “state and federal laws mandate strict confidentiality of student records” and claims extended media coverage “also may bias the potential jury pool.”
The four-count lawsuit was filed in March by Bridget Carlson and alleges her daughter—Valerie Carlson was harassed by students for her manner of dress, hairstyle and sexual orientation, which eventually led to her suicide in March of 2018.  The lawsuit also alleges the district did not contact health care providers or the mother after receiving reports that the girl “had cut marks on her person”. Each count seeks an amount exceeding $50,000 for “loss of society, grief, sorrow and emotional distress.” The school district has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit with arguments scheduled to be heard tomorrow afternoon in Mercer County Circuit Court.