Students, Colleagues Grieve Death of Teacher

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCChicago.com

    Monday was an emotional return to school for the students and colleagues of a cherished special education teacher who fell to her death at a Halloween party over the weekend.

    "In the beginning they weren't asking but in the class today they were asking for her, and we had to explain to them it was an accident," said Christian Garcia, a teacher at Chicago's Bright Public School.

    Garcia's colleague, Megan Duskey, fell four stories after playfully trying to slide down a banister during a Halloween party at the Palmer House Hilton over the weekend.

    "I have moments where it hits me and I see certain kids that I know she worked with all the time. And they enjoyed being with her," said Garcia.

    Many of those students have already begun coloring pictures for Duskey's family. One of them includes a pumpkin and serves as a reminder of a field trip Duskey took with the students to a pumpkin patch just last week. Another card is from "my Tinkerbell," the nickname Duskey gave to one little girl with whom she was close.

    "She was very responsible for 23 years old," recalled school principal Millicent Clyburn. "So the idea that she might have been doing this or she might have been doing something, she was not irresponsible in any way. She made grown up decisions all the time on the behalf of students at Bright School, and she was a leader."

    Millicent said that it wasn't unusual to look to Duskey for ideas and insight.

    "She came with a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of energy. She was responsible. She was passionate about education," she said. 

    At Marion Catholic School, Duskey's alma mater, the staff said they didn't know Duskey would follow in her mother's footsteps and teach special students, but they knew she was beautiful inside and out.

    "It was evident to us that she would move on to do something great," said Sister Kathleen Anne Tait, Marion's principal.  "It's a huge loss for her family and the school community.  She was a fine young lady in so many respects."

    The Palmer House said it is cooperating fully with the Chicago Police Department's investigation into the incident.  Alcohol is not believed to have played a part and the death was ruled an accident.