Family sues CPS, says 9-year-old was kicked out of school on cold winter day
BY TONYA FRANCISCO
CHICAGO — The family of a 9-year-old boy filed a lawsuit Tuesday and accused Chicago Public School officials of dragging the boy onto the street in cold weather with no coat.
The incident in question started with a fight during recess in March. School officials claimed as one of the students was being disciplined, the 9-year-old ran out of the school.
However, a video from CPS security cameras from inside the school appears to tell a different story.
The family of the boy, identified as “KS,” claims the fourth-grader, who attended Fiske Elementary in Woodlawn, was thrown out of the school on a 46 degree day by a security guard. The family alleges the boy’s counselor and principal watched. The family said the boy was wearing only a short-sleeved shirt and khakis and was left outside for 30 minutes unsupervised.
The video contradicts the story school officials told the boy’s grandfather, who is also a Chicago police officer, when he came to pick him up after he was involved in a fight during recess.
Dan Herbert is one of the family’s attorneys and said the boy was “manhandled” by school staff.
“He’s yanked back into the principal’s office. He gets thrown out the school,” Herbert said. “They said this kid was biting, scratching, kicking other kids. It didn’t happen. They said this kid ran out of the school. (But) he was thrown out of the school.”
Yvonne Pinkston is the boy’s mother and said it was neglect.
“It’s endangerment,” she said. “Anything could have happened to my son in that neighborhood.”
Pinkston said her son had been bullied by other students since the beginning of the school year after he transferred there from a school in Lafayette, Indiana.
She and the boy’s grandparents tried reporting the abuse to school officials. The family claims they were told they couldn’t control the other students and that they were annoyed with the 9-year-old because he didn’t fit in better and at his family for complaining about the bullying.
CPS released a statement that said they were made aware of “deeply concerning allegations” Tuesday and the security involved in the incident has been removed from the position.
“Every CPS student deserves access to a safe and welcoming school environment, and the district takes seriously all allegations of student harm. These allegations are deeply disturbing, and we are fully committed to holding accountable any adult whose actions could have endangered a student,” the statement said.
They said they are also reviewing the principal’s actions and looking into why this matter wasn’t brought to the leadership’s attention sooner.
“The worse thing about this case is the cover-up,” Herbert said.
Pinkston said the whole experience has left her son with lasting emotional wounds.
“I don’t care how hard the day gets, you don’t do this to a child,” she said.
The boy has since transferred to a new school where his family said he’s thriving. He was even named music student of the month, his family said.