Alleged police brutality at Englewood elementary school
January 25, 2007 (WLS) -- Parents and community members voiced their concerns Thursday over a dispute that turned violent on Tuesday at an elementary school in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Several students were injured and parents say school security guards are to blame.
The dispute happened during a metal detector screening at Wentworth Elementary, 61st and Racine on the South Side. Police arrested eight students. But many parents believe the school's guards used excessive force.
A source tells ABC7 that the Office of Professional Standards with the Chicago Police Department will likely be investigating the claims of brutality. That is because the day this incident happened, the security officers who were working for Chicago Public School were Chicago cops.
Some parents of students at Wentworth Elementary and community activists say they want better treatment of their children. They said they would file police reports Thursday alleging police brutality by security officers at the school.
"It was unfair for grown men to beat on my child, and I could have taken care of it if they would have called me. He did not have to go to jail and he did not have to get a record at this young age," said Rosalyn Long, parent.
"He is afraid and he does not want to come back to school," said Sandra Deener, parent.
Latisha Brinkley is a sixth grader and says she and other students were roughed up by security officers on Tuesday.
"The security person grabbed me by me head and swung me into the door and started hitting me in the stomach. When I fell on the ground, my arm got caught between the door and he kept slamming the door on my arm to stop other students from getting out," said Brinkley.
On Tuesday morning a special security sweep was conducted at the school. The school's principal says security officers set up in the auditorium to look for weapons due to previous problems, where at least on two occasions students brought weapons to the school.
"I think in these times it's obvious that we have to take special measures to ensure the safety of our students," said Paula Powers, Wentworth principal.
The principal says something happened to disrupt the sweep causing students to be arrested and at least one student to be injured. Now Powers and other school officials are sorting through different versions of the incident and say they want to prevent future problems.
"Certainly taking another look at the process to revisit and re-evaluate if there need to be some changes made to make it safer so that our students, which is our primary concern, feel safe in their schools," said Powers.
"We have security screenings at schools all the time, and this is a very isolated incident, but because it has happened, we want to make sure that we do the right thing," said Phillip Hampton, Chicago Public Schools.
A police source at the district told ABC7 that there already was a police report filed the day of the incident. The parents who showed up Thursday had their names added to the police report.
Parents ABC7 talked to as they left the police station were disappointed that they were not able to file their own police report with details regarding what happened or what they say happened to their own children.
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