CPS, board sued over freshman allegedly beaten by older students

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The parents of a freshman Morgan Park High School student who said he was beaten after being left unsupervised with senior football players are seeking more than $400,000 in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.

According to the suit, the boy was in his fifth period music class when his substitute teacher lost control of the classroom. She called in Christian Hopkins, a football coach who was acting as a security officer that day, to help her.

The substitute told Hopkins that several students were gambling and acting unruly, but she wouldn’t identify them for fear of retribution, the suit alleges.

Hopkins asked the freshman boy which students were gambling, and he refused to point them out, according to the suit. Hopkins took the boy and several other students into the hallway to ask again, but nobody identified the students for fear of retribution.

Rather than taking the students to the dean’s office, Hopkins took them to the weight room, where nine senior football players, some with street gang affiliations, were present, the suit alleges. Before leaving them unsupervised, Hopkins told the football players the students were supposed to do leg presses for the rest of the period, giving them permission to punish the students if they failed to do so.

According to the suit, the boy stopped to rest from the leg presses and was beaten and thrown into a weight rack by some of the senior football players. The boy suffered severe and personal injuries that are permanent in nature and cost him medical expenses.

The eight-count suit accuses the Board of Education and Chicago Public Schools, by and through its employees at Morgan, of negligent supervision and being willful and wanton. It also seeks damages under the Family Expense Act for personal, physical and emotional injuries.

A CPS spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

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