Chicago parent sues school system over child’s handcuffing

A Chicago mother is suing the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) over a March incident in which her daughter was dismissed from class and punished for allegedly stealing candy from a teacher’s desk at Fernwood Elementary School on the city’s south side.

Marlena Wordlaw said her daughter, Madisyn Moore, was taken by the school’s security guard, handcuffed under a staircase and left there for one hour.

Students had told the teacher and security guard Madisyn had stolen candy; Moore’s mother says the candy was part of her daughter’s lunch.

In the immediate wake of the episode, the security officer was dismissed and the guard’s personnel file marked with a “no-re-hire” citation.  The decision to dismiss the security officer did not meet with Ms. Wordlaw’s satisfaction, however, and she filed suit against the CPS on Thursday.

In Wordlaw’s suit, she contends her daughter was subject to emotional distress and the victim of both excessive force and false imprisonment.

Wordlaw says she arrived to pick up her daughter when security guard Divelle Yarbrough told her he was “teaching (Madisyn) a f*****g lesson.”  Wordlaw was then escorted to her daughter who remained cuffed to the stairway, “crying, sweating, and visibly scared and distraught,” the lawsuit alleges.

Wordlaw stated the security officer told her:  “If I was a real parent, I would find out what was going on instead of jumping the gun.”  According to Wordlaw’s attorney, Jeffrey Granich, the Chicago Police Department declined to press charges against Yarbrough.

Withdrawn from Fernwood Elementary, Madisyn is currently awaiting placement in another Chicago public school.

The CPS remains in near chaos following the October 2015 plea deal of Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the former head of Chicago’s crumbling schooling system who accepted $2.3 million in bribes to steer no-bid contracts to education consulting firms to which she was formerly employed.


[Think Progress] [Photo courtesy]