CHICAGO: Family Sues School for Kicking Child Out into the Cold

Photo: The family of a 9-year-old boy is suing Chicago Public Schools for kicking him out of school alone into cold temperatures without a coat

By Kim Hyun Sang

A Black family has taken legal action against the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system this week over an incident involving their nine-year-old child back in March. The boy, identified only as “K.S” in the lawsuit, was thrown out of Fiske Elementary School into temperatures ranging from 27 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit the day of the incident, in a short-sleeve shirt without a coat.

Security footage presented by the family’s attorney at a news conference on Tuesday shows a security guard at the school forcefully grabbing the boy and taking him into an office. A few minutes later, footage from another camera shows the same man forcing him outside as teachers and administrators watch. The lawsuit also claims that the principal, school counselor, and security guard created a barrier to prevent K.S. from returning inside the building after he was thrown out. The school later reported him missing to police, claiming he had left on his own without the knowledge of staff.

This incident was sparked by a series of complaints by K.S. and his family that he was being bullied while the school took no action, eventually culminating in a fight between K.S. and another student. The boy’s family accuse CPS of retaliating against the 9-year-old and then lying to cover up their reckless endangerment, which includes not only exposing him to harsh weather but also leaving him unaccompanied on the streets.

CPS has a history of abusing Black children. Earlier this year, a 16-year-old Black girl at the John Marshall Metropolitan High School, was dragged down a flight of stairs, tasered, and beaten brutally by school resource officers after a confrontation over her use of a cell phone in class. She was charged with two felony counts of assaulting an officer until video surfaced of the incident and the charges were dropped.

These incidents are nothing new to students and parents of oppressed nations children, particularly in Black and Chicano communities. In these working-class, oppressed nations communities, schools are another weapon in the state’s arsenal of brutal oppression, especially the disciplinary positions filled by police and “resource officers.”

Using suspensions, police violence, and criminal charges against students, usually for non-violent offenses, the schools brutalize children and ruin their futures by tarnishing their reputations with disciplinary records. In the worst cases it can prevent students from completing basic education and joining the working class. By criminalizing students at such a young age and eventually declassing them, the state enforces national oppression and prepares them for the annihilation zones of modern prisons.

The use of violence in schools is part of a broader campaign of repression that the ruling class employs against working-class and oppressed nations communities. This reactionary violence is used in order to instill total subjugation of these communities, from the cradle to the grave, in schools, workplaces, the streets, and eventually in prison.

This oppression breeds resistance, such as the family of K.S. suing the school system, but it will take more than legal action to end the vicious cycles in which oppressed nations have been trapped. The state may have condemned this child to freezing weather this time, but the development of class struggle condemns the masses to win.