It started with a kiss on the forehead from another student and progressed to more unwanted touching beneath a school desk, the 11-year-old boy said.
And even though the boy reported the abuse to one and then another teacher, his cries for help were ignored, his family alleges in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court this month. The boy’s family is suing the Chicago Board of Education, the two teachers, as well as the Academy for Urban School Leadership — the not-for-profit organization that oversees Marquette School of Excellence on the South Side, where the boy alleges the abuse occurred last spring.
The boy, identified as “T.C.” in the lawsuit, said the abuse began last March and continued for about a month, according to the suit. Angela Wells, the boy’s mother, learned about it when her son was sent home one day in April after he threatened the other boy, his mother said Monday.
“I was disheartened, I was upset,” said Wells, talking to reporters at her lawyer’s office downtown. “I was pretty much disappointed in the fact that he said he reported this and no one contacted me. No one put a report in even to the school. No one said anything.”
Wells said she eventually got a meeting with school officials, but she pulled her son from Marquette after they couldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t remain in the same classroom as the boy who’d allegedly molested him.
The Academy for Urban School Leadership referred questions to CPS, who issued a statement about the allegations.
“While CPS cannot comment on pending litigation, we want to make sure that all members of the public understand our efforts and our commitment to support students who report sexual violence, including the establishment of the district’s Office of Student Protections and Title IX,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said in an emailed statement. “The new office oversees investigations into allegations of student-on-student abuse, ensures students are paired with an advocate immediately following an allegation, and provides students with resources for receiving long-term support, including counseling.”