2012-05-04 / Top Stories

Mom: Security Agent Attacked My Son

By Howard Schwach

The mother of a 13-year-old PS 183 student has filed charges with both the Special Investigator for Schools and the New York City Police Department, saying that her son was attacked without provocation by a school security agent at the school.

Jacqueline Whittaker, whose son Dwayne Lyttle is a seventh-grader at the school, told The Wave this week that SSA Sharon Thomas attacked her son at the opening of school on April 26, a city testing day.

Lyttle said that he was at the school at 8:39 a.m. about a minute before school opened for the day, anxious to get to his room for the standardized mathematics test that was to be given that day.

Thomas allegedly told him that he would have to wait a minute before coming into the school. He says that he walked outside and waited for a minute or two before coming back into the building.

He said that he saw his assistant principal in the hallway and called to her.

Whittaker says that his call to the supervisor somehow angered Thomas.

“You want Ms. Sherman, you’ll get her,” the SSA angrily said to the teen, allegedly grabbing him by the arm and slamming him into the hallway wall.

“She pushed him into the wall so hard that he bit his tongue badly, and wrenched his back,” Whittaker said.

Lyttle was pulled into the office.

When his sister Tamika, an eighthgrade student at the school, entered the building, she was told that her brother was in the office and that he was “wilding out.”

She texted her mother, who rushed to the school, where she found the police and EMS with Lyttle in the main office.

School officials told Whittaker that they had the incident on a surveillance tape that showed her son was blameless.

“I never saw the tape, because they told me it was too graphic,” she said. “Dwayne has to take his make-up test, but he is afraid to go into the building.”

She said that she asked to speak with the security agent, but her request was refused.

While Whittaker says that Thomas was arrested, court records show that she was never brought to the attention of the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Records show, however, that a complaint was made to the Special Investigator for Schools.

A memo from that office to the school’s principal says that the incident was referred to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for investigation.

“You are to take no further action,” the memo to Renee Peart, the school’s principal, said.

The NYPD did not respond to a request for information.

Whittaker took her son to the emergency room at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, where he was treated for muscle spasms and a wrenched back and then released.

Whittaker says that the incident is “sad” and that she is contemplating taking civil action against both the city and the school.

“This shouldn’t happen. Those guards are there to help kids, keep them safe,” she said. “This one did not do her job.”

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