Expulsion At Five
The young boy, whose name is being withheld by The Wave because of his age, was suspended three times this school year by Principal Ericka Wala. His mother, Latesha Thompson is scheduled to face the school’s board of directors and an expulsion hearing later this month.
“They’ve provided my son with an unfair start to his school career,” Thompson told The Wave last week. “They have stigmatized him because the suspensions and the expulsion will be on his permanent school record forever. They have not given him a chance for a decent life.”
In a suspension letter dated March 2, Wala wrote, “We regret that we find it necessary to suspend your son for five days due to the following behavior: disrupting the educational process; being insubordinate; defying or disobeying the lawful authority of school personnel; using force against school personnel, hitting the teacher and engaging in an act of coercion or threatening violence, injury or harm to another.”
These, the mother points out, are the charges against a tiny five-year-old in his first year in a public school setting.”
“The allegations are outrageous,” Thompson said. “My son is a strong-minded little boy who is learning new things every day and he is never aggressive or threatening.”
She says that the teacher asked her son to get out of his seat and he refused.
The teacher then grabbed him hard by both his collar and his arm to get him out of the seat, his mother alleges. He swung at her to get her to let go and hit her hand.
The principal told Thompson that her son had “verbally abused” an assistant principal after the incident.
The principal also said that her son headbutted two other children, but refused to supply any details to the parent.
Thompson believes that the school gave up on her son after he was suspended for the first time in early October. He was suspended again in early March and then again on March 18.
“The school says he can’t stay because he has behavioral problems because they don’t want to deal with a kid who gives them more work than they want to do,” Thompson says. “I came forward because I don’t want any other parents at PPA to have to go through what I am going through. Schools shouldn’t treat either young children or their parents this way. I hope they get away from the harsh punishments they give out such as what they did to my son. I hope they learn to deal with children who may present a problem.”
Thompson says that she may not attend the board meeting in which she expects her son to be expelled.
I am looking for a new school for my son,” she said. “I don’t want him to have to go back there.”
The Wave’s calls to the school were referred to the Department of Education, which sponsors the school.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education declined to comment.