Reporting Mike Puccinelli
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CHICAGO (CBS) — It was supposed to an eye-opening experience for high- school students: a field trip to the Cook County jail boot camp.
But the lone African-American student in the class says his trip ended when he was racially profiled, CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports.
Felicia McClure Hill reads from a letter that she received from her son’s teacher. In it, the teacher writes that her son was subjected to extreme racism.
It happened on the field trip at the jail at 26th and California.
Allante Hill says the trouble began Wednesday shortly after his Urban Studies class from Riverside Brookfield High School showed up. When they walked inside, they immediately saw a line of inmates.
That’s when Allante says he heard the first comment -– that he should be in the line with the prisoners.
The senior says he told his teacher. She was asking who said that when Allante says the boot camp drill instructor said he had said it.
“My response to him was ‘Look, man, you don’t know me or anything about me.’ His response to that was, ‘I call it like I see it,’” the teen says.
Hill says it got nastier.
“I tell him like, ‘I go to school, I go to work. I come home to my daughter every night,’” he says. “And his response to me was, ‘So what kid are you on, your third or your fourth?’”
Hill was the only black student on the fieldtrip.
Natalie Jimenez was there.
“It was definitely racism,” she says.
Cook County Sheriff’s Department officials say the instructor has an unblemished record after more than four years on the job.
“Allegations that are made we are going to thoroughly investigate,” Dana Wright, chief of staff to Sheriff Tom Dart, said.
Sheriff’s officials also say they wonder why the teacher and students said nothing to him when they met with him after the field trip.
Hill swore at the instructor and was barred from the tour of the camp.
The rest of the class and the teacher took the tour and actually met with Sheriff Tom Dart after the tour. He says no one mentioned anything unusual and all seemed happy when they left the facility.