Chicago School Forced Coatless, Bullied 4th Grader into Cold, Making Him Cry, Lawsuit Alleges
The family of a Chicago boy filed a federal lawsuit against a Chicago public school after a security guard allegedly threw the child outside without a coat
Officials at a Chicago elementary school claim a fourth-grade boy ran out of the building into the cold without a coat on while being disciplined last March.
Video footage from security cameras inside Fiske Elementary School in Chicago seems to show otherwise — that the 9-year-old was allegedly thrown out of school by a security guard and kept outside for 30 minutes in 40-degree temperatures, which officials lied about, a new lawsuit alleges.
On Tuesday, the family of the boy identified in court papers only as “K.S.” filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Illinois against the City of Chicago, the Chicago Board of Education, the school’s principal, counselor and security guard, local station WGN9 and CNN report.
The suit accuses them of excessive force, unreasonable seizure, intentional infliction of emotional distress and creating a hostile educational environment, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The child, who’d just moved to Chicago from Indiana when the incident allegedly occurred, had been bullied from the first day he set foot in the school, the complaint alleges. School officials did little or nothing about it, the complaint also claims, CNN reports.
School officials “failed to take any action” to protect the boy and “even became abusive towards him,” the complaint says, WGN9 reports.
After being “manhandled” and pushed out of the school, the child “sat outside in the cold, with a Polo shirt on, for 30 minutes, scared, traumatized and freezing,” Dan Herbert, the family’s attorney, told reporters at the press conference, The Washington Times reports.
“Thankfully, the police showed up,” he said.
When a police officer arrived, he found the boy, who said he sat outside and cried after discovering all the doors to the school were locked, Herbert said, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
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The alleged ordeal took place on March 26, when a security guard took the child to the main office after school officials say a fight erupted at recess, WGN reports.
The boy did not instigate the fight, his mother says, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Footage of the incident that Herbert and the family provided for reporters Tuesday show a security guard taking the boy to the main office at the school, WGN 9 reports.
Shortly after, the security guard is seen yanking the child into the office and then ushering him out the front door, with no coat on.
“They said this kid was biting, scratching, kicking other kids,” Herbert said. “It didn’t happen. They said this kid ran out of the school; he was thrown out of the school.”
Herbert claimed the guard, along with the principal and the school counselor, “created a barrier” to prevent the boy from coming inside.
“Anything could have happened to my son in that neighborhood,” Yvonne Pinkston said at the press conference.
The boy was “being harassed and bullied by the caretakers, that’s what makes this case overly egregious, and that’s why we filed suit for this young child,” Herbert said.
The boy’s mother and grandparents say they reported the bullying to school officials, who told them they “couldn’t control the other students” and that they were “annoyed” with the boy because “he didn’t fit in better and at his family for complaining about the bullying,” the family says, WGN9 reports.
CPS did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In a statement released to other outlets including WGN9, CPS said it learned about the “deeply concerning allegations” on Tuesday.
The security guard allegedly involved in the incident has been removed from the position, the statement says.
“I don’t care how hard the day gets, you don’t do this to a child,” Yvonne Pinkston 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.