Diane John, the mother whose 15-year-old son suffered a beatdown at the hands of a much larger teacher, is seeking criminal charges against the offending public school dean and suing the city for $5.5 million after being shown surveillance footage of the incident, reports the New York Daily News.
According to CBS New York, Kristoff John was running late for school at George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in Brooklyn, when his security card failed to work. The teen moved to go through anyway, which is when teacher Stephan Hudson reportedly intervened.
The surveillance video shows the nearly 300-pound Hudson grabbing the 5-foot-3, 116-pound boy by the arm, yanking him around and shoving him into a table as John struggles against the larger teacher. The teen eventually ends up on the ground.
Ms. John was told in March -- when the incident occurred -- that her son had attacked Hudson, not the other way around. She told CBS New York that she asked her son, “How come what you're saying to me and what they're saying to me is not adding up?"
Her son replied, "Mom there is a video, if you see the video, you're going to believe me."
According to the Daily News, when Diane John asked to view the school surveillance video in question, school officials blew her off, she said.
“They covered it up and blamed my son -- and I believed them,” Diane John said. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”
On Tuesday, she was finally shown the surveillance footage by the Daily News. Kristoff’s mother says she hasn’t slept through the night since viewing the unsettling video.
On Thursday, high-profile personal injury attorney Sanford Rubenstein filed a claim against the city, naming the Department of Education and Hudson as defendants.
The claim states that the burly teacher “negligently, violently and viciously grabbed [Kristoff] by his arm, hand and neck, and dragged him across the floor and pushed him numerous times into a table.” It also alleges that school officials, including principal Janine Kieran, “attempted to conceal and cover up the truth” by lying to Diane John about the incident and preventing her from seeing video of the beating, according to the Daily News.
Diane John had brought Kristoff to the U.S. from Grenada in 2011 so he could go to high school in the city. In the aftermath of the incident, she has sent him back to Grenada to live with his aunt, saying the beating he received turned him against school.
The claim contends that Kristoff suffered “serious and permanent” injuries to his back and neck as a result of the scuffle.
Prior to the lawsuit's filing, the Department of Education released a statement saying Hudson “was found to have engaged in corporal punishment and was disciplined.” Officials would not specifty how, exactly, the teacher was disciplined, but did say he is still employed by the school earning $95,000 per year.
City schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott promised a thorough investigation of the incident.
“If there was a cover-up, we’ll get to the bottom of it," Walcott told CBS New York. "I don’t like people to cover-up, I don’t like people to hide the facts…I don’t like people…touching our students in any way that’s inappropriate.”
A San Antonio, Texas school official announced earlier this month that a Judson Independent School District teacher will lose her job after ordering more than 20 kindergartners to line up and hit a classmate accused of being a bully. She is accused of orchestrating the slugfest after a younger teaching colleague sought suggestions on how to discipline the 6-year-old.
Last June, 64-year-old art teacher Sandra Hadsock had child abuse charges dropped against her for striking one of her students after he reportedly called her obscene names and backed her against a wall.