OTTAWA — Lindy Schroeder’s son Ty Conn’s death was ruled accidental from a gunshot wound and she is seeking attendance records to figure out why he was allowed to email himself in absent from school when he should have been in class.
Schroeder has been seeking answers on the Ottawa-Glandorf school attendance policy ever since her son, who was a 17-year-old junior, died Oct. 12, 2018, in the woods near his residence.
She was notified by school officials after his death that he himself had emailed school administrators that he would be absent from school Oct. 10, 11 and 12.
Schroeder said she is still seeking his attendance records from when he was not in speech class.
”He was a good student with a 3.9 GPA and excellent attendance record. I had no clue he was not in class not only for that one day, but for the three days that passed by without anyone contacting me,” Schroeder said.
Jessica Philemond, attorney with Columbus-based Scott Scriven LLP, representing Ottawa-Glandorf High School, provided a statement on behalf of the school district.
“All of us work in education because we care about children. Our students contribute to the community we create together at Ottawa-Glandorf and the loss of a student, particularly by such a tragic accident, is heartbreaking,” the release states.
The school’s attendance policy states early dismissals must be called in to the principal’s office by a parent, guardian or grandparent of the student. The reason for the early dismissal should be given along with the time of departure from school and if the student will be returning to school.
According to an investigation report from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Conn was located at the school in a restroom stall by an administrator skipping class on Oct. 9. Schroeder received a phone call Oct. 12 from her husband asking if she knew if Ty was at home and she hadn’t. She called Ty and asked why he wasn’t at school and he said his dad had called him in and she called his dad back and he said he had not called Ty in.
“I could not get in touch with Ty so his grandmother went to check on him and Ty was found deceased. I was not notified of his absence on this date nor was his dad,” Schroeder said.
Following the news of this student’s passing, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the Ottawa Police Department opened an investigation and the Lucas County Coroner’s Office determined the cause of death was accidental, according to the release issued by the school district.
“We understand that the family of the student has questions and we will continue to cooperate with the family, as we have done in fully responding to all requests,” the release states.
The release continues however, “We will not be sharing the family’s private matters or the student’s confidential information in the public or otherwise. As a district, we strive for continuous improvement, and as a part of that we regularly review our procedures and policies to determine if there are any measures for improvement.”
According to the release, when a student misses class without notice or permission, the classroom teacher notifies the building principal for follow-up. In this instance, that protocol was followed, according to school officials. “In order for a student to be excused absent, a parent call is required. “In this instance, that protocol appeared to be followed,” the release continues.
Schroeder sent an email requesting Ty’s iPad and school email password and she was notified that her request was being sent to a different staff member.
Three days later she received an email back from the school that Ty’s iPad had been cleared and reissued to another student two weeks after his death. According to the school’s attorney, pursuant to district policy all records on the iPad were maintained and provided to Schroeder.
School officials say, “As we have grieved and continue to grieve, we have made counseling resources available to those who need them and will continue to do so. We hope that you will join us in conveying our sincere condolences to the family.”
“To every parent with a student, I pray the staff treat your child as if he or she were their own. I pray policies and procedures are followed and the safety and well being of your child is ensured,” Schroeder said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.