Yet another incidence of a school security officer using physical force on a child has caught national attention this week. A mother says that a security guard dragged her 4-year-old son through the halls of his school back in March, and no one informed her of the incident until the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services spoke to her more than a month later about its investigation into the matter.
“I have so many unanswered questions,” Sharece Williams told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday about what happened to her preschooler at McCutcheon Elementary School in Uptown Chicago. “When I first heard this news, my heart dropped. I felt so heartbroken. I felt like I couldn’t protect my baby from harm.”
Williams has said that her boy has a disability, but did not specify what. It is also unclear what led up to him being dragged down the hall, though nothing could justify that kind of violent action by an adult on such a young boy. It’s one more example of why parents, teachers, and activists are calling for an end to having police in schools.
— Shiller Preyar Jarard & Samuels (@ShillerPreyar) November 17, 2020
Chicago Public Schools has refused to release an incident report to Williams, so she is currently suing them. The school board did investigate the matter and found “substantiated” evidence of physical abuse, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Emily Bolton, a spokesperson for CPS, said that the board was “in the process of moving for termination against the employee when he submitted his resignation.”
But why would they not release more information to the boy’s mother? According to Block Club Chicago, Williams’ lawyer Michael Jarard said she received a letter from CPS this month that revealed the name of the security guard. That name matches up with a Chicago Police Officer who works in public schools, but they have yet to officially confirm that they are the same person. The police declined to comment to Block Club or the Tribune.
“They have continually tried to cover up, hide and conceal what happened, even to his mother,” Jarard said of CPS. “They are trying to silence abuse in our schools. We will not stand for it.”
We don’t know which part of this story is more horrifying: The fact that time and time again, schools have hired such cruel people to take care of children; or that when something goes wrong in this system, the school board doesn’t bend over backwards to accommodate the child’s parents and provide complete transparency.
In this case, at least the boy is physically unharmed. But his mother told reporters that while he used to love police officers and dressed as one for Halloween last year, he’s now afraid of the mere sight of them.
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