The Chicago Public Schools has agreed to pay $1.25M to the mother of a student who attempted taking his own life in 2019 after other students and staff in school bullied and subjected him to racist abuse.
Jamari Dent, a special needs boy, was 11 years old when he tried taking his own life. He suffered brain damage and was put on life support as a result. But he died at the age of 13 this year.
The settlement was approved by the Chicago Board of Education during a meeting on October 27, Independent reported. And the settlement came after Dent’s mother, Teirra Black, filed a lawsuit against the schools. Black had alleged staff and students at the Evers Elementary and Carter Woodson Elementary schools had been bullying her son prior to the suicide attempt. But officials did not put in an effort to stop it even after Black pleaded with them to protect her son, the lawsuit added.
Per Chicago Sun-Times, the suit alleged teachers and students “repeatedly called [Jamari] ‘stupid,’ ‘dumb’ and ‘r——-’ and joked that he would end up at a facility for students with mental disabilities.” A white female teacher at Carter Woodson Elementary also allegedly called Dent “a dirty little n—–” and “stupid and dumb,” the suit also claimed.
Another school employee was also accused of placing Dent in a chokehold and pushing his head into a wall. The school’s principal, who was said to be aware of the bullying, never informed Dent’s mother about it, the suit stated.
“The CPS system has failed Jamari, and other special needs children like him, on a criminal level,” family attorney, Jon Erickson, said after Dent’s death in June. “And they will be held to account.
“This is the culmination of three years of horrific abuse, neglect and incompetence that resulted in an 11-year-old child feeling he had no option to relieve himself of the pain and cruelty he suffered at the hands of his teachers other than to take his own life,” Erickson added.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Public Schools’ March 2021 employment roster shows two principals and five teachers who were mentioned in the lawsuit are still employed.