School leaves 'bullied' child outside in cold with no coat and then reports him missing

The family says the school then reported the child missing

Lily Puckett
New York
Thursday 03 October 2019 20:07
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A woman is suing school bosses in Chicago after her nine-year-old son was left outside in the cold without a coat.

Yvonne Pinkston said her son, then a fourth grader at Fiske Elementary School in Englewood, Illinois, was deliberately locked outside of his school in near-freezing temperatures after he complained about being bullied by both students and staff.

Dan Herbert, Ms Pinkston’s attorney, released surveillance video from the school that shows a security officer forcing the young boy out of the school building as the school principal and counsellor look on.

The family received this footage a few weeks ago, but the incident happened in the last school year. The boy was nine years old at the time.

The boy had been with the principal, Mr Herbert says, after complaining about being bullied and harassed. He said that previously the school had responded to his complaints by making his mother pick him up.

While locked out, the boy, wearing only a shirt and trousers, attempted to open other doors to get back inside. Mr Herbert says that the school reported him as missing while he was trying to get back inside.

“They throw this kid out on the street in Englewood, and they leave him there, and to make matters worse, they called the police and they reported that there’s a missing child,” he told CBS Chicago.

Mr Herbert thinks the ordeal was the school punishing the boy for speaking up about being bullied.

He also said that school officials also lied to the boy’s parents, saying that he’d been physically fighting with other children. Mr Herbert says these fights did not occur.

The boy's grandmother told CBS Chicago that the school’s counsellor and principal called her the day her grandson was left out in the cold, but said that he had run out of the school on his own.

Ms Pinkson has filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education, as well as the school’s principal, counsellor, and security guard. The lawsuit accuses them of excessive force, unreasonable seizure, intentional infliction of emotional distress, creating a hostile educational environment, among other charges.

Emily Bolton, a spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools, called the allegations “deeply disturbing”, but did not comment further on the lawsuit.

“We are fully committed to holding accountable any adult whose actions could have endangered a student,” she said in a statement.

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