When a Manhattan resident, Bernadette Torres, saw rips in her son’s T-shirt after school, she immediately knew something was wrong.
“He came home and I noticed that he had a rip in his shirt, and I stated to him, ‘Why is your shirt ripped? I don’t have money to buy new ones?'” Torres said, according to New York Daily News.
Her son, JL, told her that a teacher’s aide dragged him across the room.
“An adult with a green shirt and a beard aggressively grabbed him by his shirt and dragged him,” JL said in the court documents.
Torres filed a $10 million lawsuit with the Department of Education and Office of Special Investigations against The Countee Cullen/P.S. 194 elementary aide, Mr. Kaseem.
The elementary school’s assistant principal confirmed that Kaseem was involved in the incident. The lawsuit claims that Kaseem has a history of abuse.
“Upon information and belief, Mr. Kaseem has a history of assaulting students at the school, including instances of smacking, pushing and aggressively grabbing elementary school students,” the lawsuit read. “JL was another victim of Mr. Kaseem’s actions that were known to the school and condoned by its administration.”
In defense Kaseem claimed he was breaking up a fight, but later changed his story according to court documents.
The school has done very little to address the problem. “I felt like all my concerns had fallen on deaf ears,” Torres said. “I had just felt it was sad the school turned a blind eye.”
However, Kaseem no longer works at that school, but he may still work at other elementary schools in the district.
Still, Torres said her son does not feel safe attending school.
“I have to basically bribe him to go to school,” Torres said. “He says, ‘I want to stay home, I don’t want to go.’ He’s like, ‘Why are you still taking me to this place?'”
“He’s scared — and I don’t trust that they will keep him safe,” Torres said.