Family outraged after Waukegan substitute teacher allegedly assaulted student – NBC Chicago

A family is demanding more action after an eighth grader in suburban Waukegan was allegedly punched in the face by a substitute teacher during an altercation this week.

Brandon Cole, a student at Jack Benny Middle School, said he was arguing with another student in a classroom when the unidentified teacher attacked him.

“I’m really scared right now because my teacher punched me in the face, broke my finger, bruised my face,” he said.

Brandon says he’s never had a problem with the substitute before and doesn’t know what led to the attack.

Kevin O’Conner, an attorney representing the family, says the teacher made no attempt to peacefully end the altercation between students and instead responded violently.

“Instead of breaking him, the teacher aggravated him, hitting and assaulting him,” O’Conner said. “It was a verbal argument with another student.”

Natasha Cade, Brandon’s mother, says the teacher has been arrested, but demands more action. She spoke at a school board meeting on Tuesday, saying students should feel safe going to school.

“I don’t know if I should be angry, confused or hurt. I want to see stricter procedures for hiring people – I want these kids to feel safe coming to school,” she said.

Waukegan police told NBC-5 there is an open investigation into the incident, but they have not confirmed any criminal charges in the case, nor the identity of the substitute teacher.

Waukegan Community Unit School District Superintendent. Theresa Plascencia offered her support for Brandon and his family at the school board meeting, saying the staff member in question had already been fired.

“Nobody ever has the right to lay their hands on you,” she said. “What I can promise you and your family is that the replacement will not be coming back and we will work on it and fix it.”

The school district also sent a letter to parents and staff:

“Earlier today, there was an incident in a classroom at Jack Benny Middle School involving a physical altercation between a student and a substitute staff member. Let me start by saying that this type of behavior by the part of any trusted adult at any of our schools is completely unacceptable, and any staff conduct that compromises the safety and well-being of students is not and will not be tolerated.

“Rest assured that the employee in question will not work at our schools in the future. As investigations by outside authorities are ongoing, we are unable to publicly discuss the details of the altercation. I can assure you that the safety and security of our students has been and continues to be our top priority.

“We know an incident like this can be upsetting. I feel the same emotions that many of you may feel. Parents trust our school staff to teach, nurture and protect their children “This action is a gross breach of that trust, and I am truly sorry that this unfortunate incident has taken place. For our students who need support, mental health support staff will continue to be available at Jack Benny.”

NBC Chicago

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