·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Lawsuit Alleges Chicago Teacher and Her Friend Beat a Student with Leather Belts in a School Bathroom

— February 7, 2019

A new federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court alleges a Chicago teacher and her friend dragged a fourth-grade student to the boys restroom and beat him with two leather belts.

According to a federal lawsuit filed earlier today, a teacher at Tilton Elementary School in the Chicago Public School district, and one of her friends “beat one of her fourth-grade students with thick leather belts in a West Side school bathroom.” The mother of the poor boy, Asia Gaines, filed the suit in U.S. District Court and claims in the suit that the homeroom teacher, Kristin Haynes, and her friend, Juanita Tyler, disciplined her son using excessive force.

At the time of the incident back on September 20, 2018, the boy was only 9-years-old. Since then, both Haynes and Tyler have been charged with misdemeanor battery over the alleged beating. However, Haynes has remained on paid leave from the school district and a CPS spokesperson said an internal investigation is still being conducted into the matter.

Sad child
Sad child; image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay,

What happened, though? Well, according to the suit, when Gaines’ son arrived at school on September 20, both Haynes and Tyler, who is not an employee at the school, “physically grabbed him and dragged him down the hallway to the boy’s bathroom.” It was then that Haynes handed Tyler two leather belts and kept in her classroom, and then she left Tyler and the student alone. Tyler, 56, ordered the student to “pull his pants down.” When he disobeyed, Tyler allegedly “lost her temper and began striking the boy over his clothes with the belts…landing blows on his back, buttocks, and legs, breaking the skin and leaving abrasions on his body.

When the terrible incident was over, the boy returned to his classroom in tears and sat at his desk the rest of the morning, sobbing “uncontrollably, publicly shamed and humiliated by the experience.”

So far the investigation has revealed that Tyler is distantly related to the boy, and was charged with domestic battery causing bodily harm shortly after the incident. According to the suit, Haynes and Tyler coordinated the abuse “as a form of corporal punishment against the boy.” However, the suit claims there was “no justification for the alleged beating.” It states:

“The boy was hardly a ‘problem child’ in Ms. Haynes’ classroom — far from it. He was punished either for something he did not do or for laughing in class with another boy the previous day.”

Gaines, 31, learned of her son’s abuse when her sister picked him up from school and noticed the bruises and welts on his body. The boy’s sister, who was in the same classroom, confirmed what had happened. She told her mom that “her brother’s cries in the bathroom could be heard by the students in the classroom.

Since the incident, the boy has been diagnosed with PTSD and his mother said he is “expected to require extensive, long-term psychotherapy.” She added, “School is a safe haven for kids, and kids are supposed to be protected no matter what. Teachers are supposed to protect kids from hurt, harm or danger, and she failed to.”

When commenting on the alleged incident, Emily Bolton, a CPS spokeswoman, said “Haynes was removed from the classroom amid an investigation into the deeply concerning allegations…Every student deserves a safe learning environment and the district will not tolerate actions that place students in the way of harm.”

Bolton also added that the school district is working to ensure the student has an abundance of support and resources available to him. However, Gaines’ attorney, Al Hofeld Jr., argues that not enough is being done. He said:

“Despite the serious risk of re-traumatization, (the boy) has returned to Tilton because CPS refuses to pay for transportation to a new school, a cost his mother cannot afford. Since his return, (the boy) continues to feel unsafe, students have bullied him while a teacher laughed, and his new homeroom teacher treats him with impatience.”

The recent federal lawsuit filed by Gaines is seeking unspecified punitive damages and compensation.


Chicago teacher allowed her friend to beat a fourth-grader with belts in school bathroom, lawsuit claims; both women charged with battery

Chicago teacher allowed friend to beat 9-year-old boy in school restroom: lawsuit

Join the conversation!