A Chicago family is demanding answers after their 9-year-old son was beaten at his school by a distant relative, whom he didn’t know and who shouldn’t have had access to the school, let alone the young boy.
Jomaury Champ, a 4th grader at George Tilton Elementary says he no longer feels safe at his school after the brutal beating he suffered at the hands of someone who was a stranger to him, CBS Chicago reports.
“Every time she whacked me, I heard the [sound of] the belt,” Jomaury told the news station.
The incident started last September, at the beginning of the school day, when his teacher, Kristen Haynes, and Juanita Tyler, the relative he did not know, allegedly grabbed his arms in the hallway and started screaming at him. Tyler, he said, started striking him.
Tyler, Jomaury’s great-aunt, is estranged from Jomaury’s family and should not have been able to have contact with him at his school.
“I tried to say, ‘What did I do?’ And she just hit me in my lip. Then my teacher, she said, ‘You know what you did.’ And then the lady hit me in my lip again,” the young child says.
To his day, he still does not know what it is he supposedly did wrong.
Then the altercation escalated, with the women dragging him to the bathroom, before his teacher left him alone with Tyler to go back to class.
“The lady, she told me to pull down my pants, but I didn’t. So she got mad, and she started whacking me with the two belts,” Jomaury said of Tyler.
Jomaury started screaming for help, but no one came to his aid.
“She told me again, pull down my pants and I didn’t,” Jomaury said. “The two belts were inside her hand. She was holding the tip of where the belt buckle was. That’s when she started whacking me. I started screaming and crying,” he added.
According to his parents, Jomaury was hit so hard on his legs and back that he sustained welts, as well as broken skin.
The belts she used were allegedly provided by Haynes, which she reportedly kept in a closet in her classroom. After she finished beating Jomaury, Tyler brought him back to his classroom and told him to behave.
“She got in my face and said, “You respect [Haynes] because we grew up together.’ She gave my teacher back the belts and she left,” Jomaury said.
The incident was so traumatic, that Jomaury was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had to be enrolled at a special program at Garfield Park Hospital, where he has spent most of his school time.
“He was crying every day,” Asia Gaines, Jomaury said of the terror her son now faces. “Calling me – he’s nervous. He’s scared. He don’t feel right.”
“It’s like the system broke and it needs to be fixed,” Joseph Jamp, Jomaury’s father added.
The parents believe that Haynes was upset with Jomaury’s behavior in her class, and called Tyler, a childhood friend of hers, to discipline the young boy.
Haynes was arrested and charged with battery in Jomaury’s case, and was removed from the classroom pending an investigation. Her case goes to trial on Feb. 19.
Tyler has been arrested for battery five times in the past, although she only had one conviction. She is currently facing charges of domestic battery in Jomaury’s case, though she denied the allegations. Even more disturbing, Tyler works with foster children for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, despite her past records.
Tyler said she only talked to the child, and told the news station that she was against corporal punishment.
“I said, ‘Best thing for you to do is go in there and act right because Auntie going to pay you $5 a week if you be good at school,’” Tyler said. “He said, ‘OK Auntie, I’m going to do what you say, Auntie.’”
Meanwhile, Champ and Gaines remain worried about their son, who has reportedly been bullied by students who heard his cries for help.
“There were multiple breakdowns, multiple violations of law, that led to the beating of this child,” Al Hofeld, Jr., an attorney representing the family said. “The most serious, the most critical injuries are not physical – they are psychological, emotional and mental.”
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