CHICAGO (CBS)– The Dean of Students at a Chicago Public School is accused of attacking a student with special needs.
Christopher Thomas, 39, has been charged with aggravated battery. His bond was set at $10,000.
Thomas, a father of three children, has worked at South Shore Fine Arts Academy for seven years.
Prosecutors say in late September, Thomas accused a 9-year-old student of stealing markers, pushed him into a classroom and choked him until he couldn’t breathe. He was suspended without pay on October 3 upon the school receiving preliminary findings from the investigation. The district is moving to fire him.
Prosecutors told the judge the school’s principal, and security guard, saw that the child had scratches. Parents say they were surprised.
Outside of court, Thomas’ estranged wife was sobbing, insisting Thomas is innocent. She said their own 9-year-old son was in the classroom with the alleged victim and said there was no attack.
She told CBS 2 her son says the alleged victim got the scratches playing football.
Judge Michael Clancy ordered Thomas to stay away from the school.
“Student safety is the district’s top priority and the employee was immediately removed from his position after the district learned about this appalling incident,” CPS Spokeswoman Emily Bolton stated. “The district has moved to terminate the employee and the school is providing ongoing support to the student and will continue to work closely to support the student’s well-being.”
The next court date is November 19.