LETTER: 'Dying to teach'... Video about suburban Chicago teacher suicide now available

My name is Myra Richardson. I am the director/producer of the documentary, DYING TO TEACH: The Killing of Mary Eve Thorson, "Educators Who Bully." I was honored to have spent several days with Mary Thorson's family. It was evident after having interviewed her parents, brother, best friend, and teachers both within and outside of district 169, that Mary's death wasn't a typical suicide. She felt that in order to expose the severe levels of abuse suffered by other teachers, coupled with its adverse impact on the students (not to mention the poor condition of the school), she would need to sacrifice her life in the most public and brutal way conceivable.

Teacher Mary Eve Thorson before the suicide caused by persecution by officials of suburban Chicago District 169.The suicide letter mentioned her choice to be the first to sign the petition, and not wanting her death to be in vain. This made it more than apparent that her objective was to shake up the district and possibly the state. As a consequence, the outcry from teachers in relation to the January 1st article by Becky Schlikerman of the Chicago Tribune was massive.

I was exposed to Mary's personal items while with her parents, e.g., her medal for building schools in USULUTAN EL SALVADOR, home movies of her many accomplishments, her degrees, and her beautiful artwork. This young woman had been in the Army Reserve for 8 years. She was prepared to defend our country. Mary knew no fear...except that of having to be without her students, whom she affectionately referred to as her babies. Once she refused to alter grades she became a target. And yet, she still refused to leave the institution until everything was snatched out from underneath her.

It isn't often that you have an opportunity to walk in the shadow of greatness. This young teacher sacrificed her life for the teachers within district 169 and for the children. I don't believe Mary ever dreamt that she would touch so many lives...even beyond death.

I have never done a project of this magnitude in my life. I still don't truly understand why I chose to tell Mary's story, especially since I have no background in filmmaking. I do know that I felt compelled. I believe in God...not ashamed to say it. I believe that this was his will. It's one of the most important things I've ever accomplished. My purpose in doing this documentary, is to make the audience aware of what Mary had been subjected to within Cottage Grove Middle School. I want the audience to experience the indescribable loss suffered by her family. I want the audience to understand the fear which teachers contend with everyday in silence. I want the audience to be angry. I want the audience to feel that someone was taken away from them as well. I pray that I did a good job. Here is the documentary website: www.marythorsondoc .

Myra Richardson


June 13, 2012 at 2:08 PM

By: Vicki Wates

A copy of the movie if possible

I was a very good freind of Mary's I have grown up with played softball with her all kinds of things, I was wondering if there is a way I could get a copy of this movie, I will pay for it and everything, but I would like to get her word out, of what happen to mary, Please let me know, thank you

June 28, 2012 at 7:13 PM

By: Jim Kosik

similar circumstances of being bullied by administrator

Due to a settlement agreement, I have been gagged to not name names or the lousy institution which put me through hell. It's sickening to see how certain administrators abuse the power given them to satisfy their own shortcomings and low sense of self-esteem. Mary's case is not an isolated one.

Similar events took place for a gentleman in Colorado who took his life due to some @#$%^

administrator. I, fortunately, had and have a belief that God saw and sees what these people do to others and that he will take care of me and deal with them in some way, shape or form.

A teacher's profession is difficult enough without some administrator, who sits in an air-conditioned office distant from teachers and students, acting in ways contrary to the expectations of their leadership.

May God embrace Mary and that her torment be left to those who caused it.

April 1, 2013 at 10:28 AM

By: Myra Richardson

DYING TO TEACH: The Documentary

A week ago, I received a frantic request for a copy of the film, DYING TO TEACH: The Killing of Mary Eve Thorson, "Educators Who Bully' from a teacher in Nevada. Her close friend and colleague died suddenly. Allegedly, he'd been bulled by administrators within their school. At that point, I made the decision to make the documentary as accessible as possible. Now, teachers, parents, and others can simply use the following link to view the film. Thank you. Myra

April 18, 2013 at 12:27 AM

By: Beth Maro-Hennessy

Coach T

I worked in dist. 169 for 10 years. Coach T. had a heart of gold. All her students loved her and she was always singing and dancing. I spent my last year at Cottage Grove with her and I was so blessed to have known her. Her Smile lit up the room!

July 8, 2013 at 8:32 PM

By: Myra Richardson

Bullied Teachers' Forum & Art Exhibit

On August 8th, 2013 at 6p.m., a Bullied Teachers' Forum & Protest Art Exhibit will be held at The Keith House in Chicago. The venue is located at 1900 South Prairie Avenue. The work of art called, DYING TO TEACH, will be unveiled at the event, and is a collaborative project made by concerned parents in dedication to bullied teachers – living and dead. Mary Eve Thorson's family will be in attendance for this special night. Their daughter's self-sacrifice for bullied teachers and children was the subject of the documentary, DYING TO TEACH: The Killing of Mary Eve Thorson, “Educators Who Bully.” The film was requested by the Save Our Schools organization for their convention in Washington, DC last August. On April 5th, CBS 2 Chicago aired an interview with John and Shari Thorson about the continued impact of their daughter's tragic death on teachers across the country. Mary's documentary was also a topic of discussion. If you've been bullied by an administrator or know of a colleague being bullied, then please attend and make your voices heard. Teachers are dying figuratively and now literally. This is an opportunity to stand together and show the world that we refuse to be treated inhumanely. If we don't act now, more teachers will kill themselves and the students who love them will suffer as a consequence.

Thank you.

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