A special-education teacher at Finkl Elementary School in the Little Village community has been removed from her classroom, Chicago Public Schools confirmed Tuesday — with the move coming after parents of her students complained of physical abuse against their children.
Luis Murillo said his 7-year-old autistic son had kept coming home from school with bruises on his body since early in the school year. The school told him it was from children fighting, Murillo said. The child also returned home with the knees of his pants ripped out, as if he had been pulled across the ground.
The boy cannot speak but started drawing this year, and he drew like crazy with colored markers on lined paper in a binder: Pictures of stick-figure children looking scared and sad, saying “no.” Tall stick figure women — three of them — with angry brows and giant teeth. A stick figure saying “help.”
“Every time he drew, we just thought he was drawing,” Murillo said.“He needs psychological help; not only him, but the other kids, too.”
Jessica Sanchez said her 8-year-old son, who has Down syndrome, came home with deep scratches on his face in early March, and the mark of what looked like an adult’s hand on his forearm last Thursday. An aide wrote a note that the boy scratched himself on a table, but the teacher told her the aide scratched him by accident.
Sanchezpicked him up early one day for a doctor’s appointment, and her son scurried behind her as soon as he saw her.
“He grabbed me, hid behind me and pointed at the teacher,” Sanchez said. “I was like, OK, what is the teacher doing that he’s pointing at her?”
She said she has been trying ever since to get answers from the principal, who told her he would contact the Department of Children and Family Services.
“All he said was he can’t get me any information until DCFS contacts me,” she said. He told her on Thursday that the teacher and aides had been removed from the classroom. She was at the school Monday when Chicago Police arrived.
None of the parents who contacted the Chicago Sun-Times knew who was to blame in the classroom for first-, second- and third-grade special-education students was to blame. They said the teacher had two aides working with her and the 13 children. They did not know what happened to the aides, but they didn’t want them around children.
The Sun-Times is not naming the teacher or aides because no one has been charged in connection with the matter.
CPS would not say why the teacher hadbeen removed, nor would the district confirm what, if anything, had happened with the aides.
“The teacher has been removed from the classroom and has no contact with students. Appropriate further action will be taken pending the outcome of the investigation,” CPS spokesman David Miranda said in an email.
The Department of Children and Family Services would not confirm whether they had been called. Chicago Police hadnot made any arrests as of Monday afternoon, according to spokesman John Mirabelli.
CPS would not provide further information about the teacher, including how long she has worked for the district.
On her LinkedIn profile, she wrote that she has worked for CPS since March 2012 and is a special-education teacher.
None of the phone numbers listed for the teacher was in service. A message left for her on Twitter was notreturned. A woman identifying herself as the teacher’s mother said she would relay a message, but her daughter was told not to talk to anyone.
The teacher did not call back.