An Illinois mother has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming that bullying at two schools her 11-year-old son attended went unchecked to the point that he attempted to kill himself in February.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Teirra Black sued the Chicago Board of Education for a February 18 suicide attempt that has left her son, Jamari Dent, with permanent brain damage. Black told the news station that her son is expected to remain hospitalized for the next three months and can only communicate through head movements.
The suit alleges that the bullying started when Dent, a special education student, was enrolled at Evers Elementary School. There, teachers and classmates “repeatedly called [him ‘stupid,’ ‘dumb’ and ‘retarded’ and joked that he would end up at a facility for students with mental disabilities,” it said.
The suit goes on to cite an instance where an Evers teacher called Dent “dirty,” “nappy-headed,” and asked him if“brillo hair was the reason he couldn’t read.”
Black said a teacher hit Dent in February 2018, leading her to transfer him to Woodson Elementary in Bronzeville. Things got worse at the new school, according to Black, who claimed three teachers struck her son on separate occasions. The principal reportedly met Black’s complaints with “deliberate indifference.”
Black reportedly called the principal, Chicago Public Schools, and even contacted the Board of Education, but her son continued to be bullied.
In February of this year, the 11-year-old’s sister reportedly found him inside a closet after he tried to kill himself.
In addition to the Board of Education, the lawsuit lists two principals and four teachers listed as defendants.
Shortly after Dent’s suicide attempt, the school district announced they’re investigating an investigation into Black’s claims. However, school officials declined to tell the news outlet the employment status of the six staffers listed in the lawsuit.
The hospitalized boy’s mother said, “They shouldn’t be working at this school still. None of them.”
[Featured image: Jamari Dent/WGN video screengrab]