Chicago Teacher Arranged for Friend to Beat 9-Year-Old Student with Belts, Lawsuit Claims

A Chicago family filed a lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools, claiming that a teacher beat their 9-year-old son with a belt.

Asia Gaines, the mother of nine-year-old Jo'Maury Champ, filed a civil rights complaint in federal court on Thursday against the Chicago Board of Education, the district's teacher Kristen Haynes, and her friend Juanita Tyler, WLS-TV reported.

Gaines told the news station her son was beaten with two belts by Tyler inside a bathroom at George W. Tilton Elementary School in September 2018. The belts reportedly belonged to Haynes, her son's teacher, according to WLS-TV. The complaint, obtained by the new station, states that Haynes arranged for Tyler, a distant relative of Champ's, to come to the school, drag him into the bathroom, and beat him with the belts several times.

Gaines's attorney, Al Hoefeld Jr., told WLS-TV that the day before the incident, Champ was in class laughing with a friend in Haynes's classroom.

"The day before the beating Jo'Maury had been laughing with another boy in Ms. Haynes' classroom and got in trouble with her," Hofeld told the news station.

Hofeld said Tyler hit him in the bathroom where he reportedly screamed for his mother, according to WMAQ-TV. She reportedly screamed back at him: "I am your mama," according to the lawsuit obtained by the news station. Tyler reportedly hit the boy 20 to 30 times and was threatened by Haynes when he returned to class, Hofeld told WLS-TV.

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George Tilton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. A mother says her nine-year-old son was beaten with two belts by his teacher's friend in the school's bathroom in September. Screenshot/Google Maps

"Ms. Haynes then threatened, you better be good because the lady is going to come back at 1 p.m.," he said.

Gaines told the Chicago Tribune that the Chicago Public school district did not inform her of the incident. She learned about it after her sister picked him up from school that day and noticed the belt marks on his body, according to the publication. The mother says her sister, who was in the classroom on the same day of the incident, could hear her brother crying from the bathroom, the publication reported.

"School is a safe haven for kids, and kids are supposed to be protected no matter what," Gaines told the Chicago Tribune. "Teachers are supposed to protect kids from hurt, harm or danger, and she failed to."

Both women were arrested and Haynes was administratively reassigned, WLS-TV reported. The Cook County State Attorney's Office told the news station that Haynes was charged with one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of child endangerment. The former teacher will be due in court Friday, according to the news station.

In a statement to WLS-TV, the district confirmed they removed Haynes from her position at the school and said students deserve to feel safe at school.

"Every student deserves a safe learning environment and the district will not tolerate actions that place students in the way of harm," the statement to WLS-TV read. "After learning of deeply concerning allegations, the district removed the employee from her position and launched a full investigation."

In January, a teacher from a Kentucky school was fired after a video surfaced of her dragging a student with autism down the school's hallway. Angel Nelson wrote on Facebook in January that the incident occurred in October at Wurtland Elementary school in Wurtland, Kentucky. The Greenup County School district confirmed there was an investigation into the incident and the teacher was removed from the school.

Chicago Teacher Arranged for Friend to Beat 9-Year-Old Student with Belts, Lawsuit Claims | U.S.