A bullied 9-year-old boy had his trauma compounded by being thrown out onto a cold Chicago street by school staff, including the principal, a federal lawsuit filed by the boy’s family claims.
According to CBS 2 Chicago, Yvonne Pinkston says her son frequently complained of being bullied by other kids at Fiske Elementary School after moving to Chicago from Indiana last school year.
But in March of this year, Pinkston told the station, the principal and school staff became bullies as well when they threw her child out of the school without a coat on a day when, CNN reports, temperatures ranged from a low of 27 degrees to a high of 46 degrees.
“The school didn’t like the fact that he was making complaints,” Pinkston’s lawyer, Dan Herbert, told CBS 2. “The school, the principal, didn’t like the fact that his mother and his grandparents were doing what they were supposed to do, and that was hold the school responsible.”
Adding insult to injury, according to Pinkston’s suit, the principal and school staff straight lied about what they had done—but video footage reveals the real deal.
As CNN explains:
In surveillance video from the school, shown by the family’s attorney at a news conference Tuesday, a man identified by the family as the school security guard yanks the boy into an office. A few minutes later, a different camera shows the man ushering the child toward an exterior door.
The principal, the [school] counselor and the guard “created a barrier” to keep the boy from staying in the building, the lawsuit alleges. The surveillance video shows two adults following the boy to the door as he exits, and other adults watching it happen.
With all other school doors locked, the fourth-grader “sat outside in the cold, with a polo shirt on, for 30 minutes, scared, traumatized and freezing,” Dan Herbert, the family attorney, told reporters Tuesday.
According to the lawsuit, instead of saying what really happened, school officials called the boy’s grandmother and told her that he had run off. Then, they contacted Chicago police to report a missing child.
“They said that this kid ran out of the school. He was thrown out of the school,” Herbert said.
The family has filed a federal suit that names Chicago schools, the principal, school counselor, and security guard, CBS 2 reports, “accusing them of excessive force, unreasonable seizure, intentional infliction of emotional distress, creating a hostile educational environment, and more.”
Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Emily Bolton called the family’s allegations “deeply disturbing,” but indicated that the district was unaware of the allegations until this week.
According to CNN, the district is looking into why it didn’t know about the allegations and reviewing the principal’s actions as well. In the meantime, the district says it has removed the security guard from his position.