HYDE PARK — A parent at Ray Elementary School alleges his son was forced to take off his clothes and be examined at the school even after resisting and requesting his parents be present.
The second-grader's father, who said he did not want to be identified to protect his son's identity, said a man at the school on Feb. 28 threatened to call the police if the boy did not submit to an examination for signs of abuse.
“My son was disrobed against his wishes and [the man] rubbed his body to see if there were any bruises,” the father said, adding Ray's then-Principal Tatia Beckwith and then-Assistant Principal Jeffrey Alstadt confirmed the boy was examined.
The father said he remains unclear about the exact details of the situation and decided to go public after Beckwith and Alstadt were removed from the school by CPS on April 5.
John Price, the chief of schools for the Chicago Public Schools Burnham Park Elementary Network, said at a April 8 meeting with parents at Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., that Beckwith and Alstadt were not removed from the school because of the allegations, but CPS was aware of the claims and was investigating.
Beckwith and Alstadt were unavailable to comment on the allegations or their removal from the school. Members of the Local School Council and parent teacher association said they were unaware of the accusations.
According to the father, the principal and assistant principal said they were unaware of the accusation of abuse or that the boy had been examined until after it happened.
The father said his last contact with Alstadt was on April 5 and he was told that the person who examined his son was fired. DNAinfo has been unable to confirm whether an individual was fired from the school.
The boy’s father said he was told on separate occasions by both Beckwith and Alstadt that a teacher suspected the boy was being spanked at home so the boy was sent to the social worker’s office, where a man — who the father said Alstadt described as a traveling occupational therapist — examined him for bruises.
The father said his son told him that after he resisted the examination three times and requested his father be present, the man threatened to call the police.
The father said the suspicion of abuse was ludicrous.
“My son is not an animal. I do not beat my son, but when I need his attention, I will get his attention,” the father said. “I’m not going to take his clothes off and hit him with a belt.”
The father said an investigator from CPS interviewed him, his wife and his son about two weeks after the incident, but had not heard any response from CPS since. The father said he had been working with Alstadt to address the issue.
He said his last contact with Beckwith was an e-mail on April 1.
“I have not been contacted by anyone from CPS,” Beckwith says in the e-mail. “I’m afraid the building principal does not get contacted when there is an investigation. I’m sorry I do not have more information for you.”
The father said he has gone public because a new interim principal is being appointed at Ray Thursday and he does not want the issue swept under the rug.