Kindergarten Teacher Hangs Herself In Classroom

Two teachers from the same Illinois kindergarten team have passed away.

On the same day she attended a funeral for a co-worker who had died from a respiratory ailment, 45-year old Linda Elaine Walker returned to her Illinois kindergarten classroom to take her own life, according to a report in the Daily Mail. She killed herself by hanging.

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She committed the act Monday in her classroom at the Tri-C Elementary School in Carterville, Ill. Some 30 counselors have been brought to the school this week to help students and other teachers cope with their grief.

Her suicide is at odds to the way Walker was described in a tribute that appeared in the Southern Illinoisan. The piece was republished by the obituary website, legacy.com:

"When Linda Elaine Walker would walk into a room instantly the room became a better place. She would make people smile with her storytelling ability, laugh until it hurt with a vivid demonstration, and gladly with much love tell the story again, and again for the delight of others. These stories became real to many friends and family through her compassion she had for all who shared her life and were fortunate enough to have listened."

The obituary went on to provide details of Walker's life, including tales about about a stellar athletic career. A standout volleyball star, Walker received 10 varsity letters while she was in high school. She also was the recipient of a full athletic scholarship at Southern Illinois University to play the sport from 1984 to 1988.

She then began her teaching career as a volleyball coach at Carterville High School, which overlapped with her 17-year tenure as a kindergarten teacher in the school system. Throughout her life, her volleyball nickname of the "Shadow" stuck. Walker was also a noted dog enthusiast. There was no explanation or public note for the suicide.

The funeral that Walker had attended for another of the school's kindergarten teachers was for Lynn Barnes. The 72-year-old died Sept. 30 of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a lung condition which prevents oxygen from entering the bloodstream.

As her ailment worsened, the Illinois town had rallied around Barnes. One day last month, community members wore red, white and blue to show their support.

School officials were not trying to downplay the double loss.

"These things are so awful. Sometimes we don't know the best thing to do," Carterville School Superintendent Robert Prusator told the Southern Illinoisan.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Walker took her life while her students were in the classroom with her.



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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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stueymorgan22

Even the most clinically depressed people have common sense. If you want to hurt yourself, I can understand that. But to do it where she did, she was trying to make a statement. Just take some pills at home or step in front of a bus...no need to traumatize all those kids. And for all of you who have tried all of the doctors and rx's to no avail...shmoke some weeeeed...it helps.

November 05 2011 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
extremecenter1

People who are judging this woman obviously never have been clinically depressed. I would judge too if I didn't know what it is like but it is a horrible torture. And one of the worse parts is that you feel you are responsible for your own illness and recovery. People please don't judge her. Obviously she was very mentally ill to do something like this. When someone has a physically ilness that they can't bear, sometimes they can just stop treatment or medicine and people won't judge but it doesn't work that way with mental illness. I would give anything to be cured. Why doesn't God help me????

November 05 2011 at 1:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
extremecenter1

Thank you RobertKiefer for your comments and compassion. I am a mother of two who has been depressed almost for the last 40 years. I have tried everything you name it-doctors, therapy, books, tapes, medicine etc. and although I have gotten some relief, it keeps coming back and I feel more hopeless than ever. I just don't have the energy to keep fighting it. I want to stay alive for my two kids but sometimes it is so unbearable that I feel I can't go on another day. I am neither evil nor selfish as I have fought hard for so long. I try to have faith in God but it is so hard when I see the horrible suffering in this world. I am not saying that God causes but why does God keep letting it go on and on and on. I am starting to envy those that died young and don't have to live in this world. I don't want to feel this way but living here, I see to relief in sight.

November 04 2011 at 5:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
I. C. Warming

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Walker took her life while her students were in the classroom with her.

Why make this correction? Isn't it more sensational in the first version? I'd love to hear the conversation that led to the correction. If it wasn't true, how did it written? Is anybody's job on the line now? One would hope.

November 04 2011 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patrick P

First of all Kindergarten "teachers" are babysitters not teachers. My guess is she was working 160 days a year making 60,000 to play with and serve milk to a bunch of kids. Hey RobertKiefer that was hilarious! Reached the end of her emotional rope....brilliant!

November 03 2011 at 3:05 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to Patrick P's comment
Nancy

This is all for you, Damien.

November 02 2011 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kennied61

she probably just missed a good friend, then after the funeral, took one last look around at what this once great country has become and said...well, see ya.

November 02 2011 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kennied61

She probably just lost a really good friend, and took one last look around at the state of this country, this once great country, and said, see ya.

November 02 2011 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RobertKiefer

I really get tired of reading all of the blogs from people after a news story where a person has commited suicide where the bloggers sanctimoniously kick the person who has killed him or herself while they were down further by calling them "selfish" and "losers". It's as if no matter how miserable their existences here on planet Earth were, their faith in God and their love for their family should see them through. Well, you know what? Not everyone has a good relationship with their family. In fact, a lot of folks have family relationships that are hopelessly toxic. And faith in God doesn't give you good job prospects. It doesn't suddenly give you good credit if you've previously had to file for bankruptcy. And it doesn't give you your house back if you've lost it to foreclosure. So why don't you folks lay off these people who have reached the end of their emotional rope? Not everyone can be made of emotional armor and nails like you people apparently are.

November 02 2011 at 8:30 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Mark5610

"When Linda Elaine Walker would walk into a room instantly the room became a better place." I find this comment interesting after she just committed the most selfish act a person could do and ruin a whole bunch of kids lives that day.

November 02 2011 at 6:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mark5610's comment
JoeD

Ever been depressed Mark, naw probably not. Does the "she wasn't in her right mind" sound right... yep that would be it.

Sheesh this blog is lined by people who should join a clueless club. More brutal comments about a situation. Thats why most sites now don't let opinions in... most of our opinions are worthless.

November 04 2011 at 6:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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