An Illinois mother has filed a lawsuit months after an elementary school teacher allegedly had another woman repeatedly beat her 9-year-old son in a bathroom.
According to WLS, the family of Jo’Maury Champ has filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against the Chicago Board of Education, George W. Tilton Elementary School teacher Kristen Haynes, 50, and the teacher’s friend, Juanita Tyler, 56 (pictured left and right). The complaint alleged Haynes enlisted Tyler to drag Champ out the classroom on September 20 and repeatedly beat him in the boys’ bathroom using two of Tyler’s belts.
“I am very angry about what happened to my son,” mother Asia Gaines said.
The alleged attack occurred when Champ arrived at school. According to the Chicago Tribune, the lawsuit stated that, in the bathroom, Tyler told Champ to pull his pants down before she “lost her temper and began striking the boy” when he refused. Moreover, a police report asserted that Tyler also smacked the fourth-grader with an open hand.
According to the lawsuit, the 9-year-old came back to class and “sobbed uncontrollably” at his desk all morning. In addition to suffering injuries and abrasions to his back, buttocks, and legs from being struck 20 to 30 times, the family alleged he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and will require long-term psychotherapy following last year’s incident.
WLS reported that Champ had met Tyler once years earlier but she was essentially a stranger to him. The lawsuit stated that Champ wasn’t a “problem child” and that Haynes and Tyler devised the beating as punishment for Champ laughing in class or “something he didn’t do” the previous day.
Police arrested Haynes and Tyler in late September and charged Haynes with battery and child endangerment and Tyler with battery. A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman confirmed to NBC that Haynes was “removed from her position” after the allegations came to light.
In a statement issued to the Tribune, family attorney Al Hofeld Jr. said Champ remains at the same elementary school because Chicago Public Schools refused to provide transportation to another school, something his mother can’t afford.
He said, “Since his return, [Champ] continues to feel unsafe, students have bullied him while a teacher laughed, and his new homeroom teacher treats him with impatience.”
In the suit, they also accused the Chicago Public School of being aware of Haynes using belts in a classroom closet to physically discipline other students but never disciplining her.
The outlet also acquired records revealing that Tyler was a licensed foster parent as recently as 2016 but, three times the same year, the Cook County public guardian’s office requested for the state Department of Children and Family Services to bar her from having children in her care.
The requests reportedly originated from the office’s concern for the welfare of two children, ages 15 months and 14, who were ultimately removed from Tyler’s home. DCFS confirmed to the Tribune that no children are currently in her care.
The 9-year-old’s family is seeking unspecified damages.
[Featured image: Kristen Haynes, Juanita Tyler/Chicago Police Department]