Murdered Teen Diploma Debate

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

In the weeks since 18-year old Bradley Berogan was shot to death by a fourteen year old on Rockford's west side, his mother has been struggling to cope day to day and she's had more than the tragic loss of her son to worry abo
"The only thing I want is this child's diploma because it's not like I have him anymore," says Brad's mother Diane Berogan.
Berogan found out Wednesday during Auburn High School's graduation rehearsal that Bradley will be receiving an honorary diploma in memorium instead of the real thing. That's what the Rockford school board voted to give him in a special session Friday night, because at the end of the school year he will not have enough credits to graduate. But that's factoring in the zeros he received for incomplete work after his death.
"If they go by the grades from when he passed away, he has enough credits to graduate. They're going by the end of the school year. Well if you're not here you can't go to school," says Diane Berogan.
Rockford's school board president Nancy Kalchbrenner says the board wanted to stress grades are important all through the year and they worried letting Brad officially graduate would devalue the diploma. But Brad's mother says it has all the value in the world to her.
"It's not like anyone's ever going to be able to use it it's just something that I know would help us with closure."
But at least for now, the Berogans will have to seek peace without Brad's diploma in hand.
Kalchbrenner says this was a difficult decision but the school board worried giving Bradley a diploma without his finishing the year would set a bad precedent for other students with extenuating circumstances. Right now there is no official procedure for students who pass away during the year, Kalchbrenner says they may explore that further now.
Diane Berogan says she plans to fight for her son's diploma in court. She is in the process of searching for a lawyer.

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