Illinois mom says her special needs son was forced to wear a trash bag in school

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CHICAGO -- The mother of a Chicago Public Schools student with special needs wants answers after she says she found her son wearing a trash bag when she visited his kindergarten classroom.

According to WGN, 5-year-old Lloyd lives with epilepsy and is non-verbal. His mother Nyesha Terry found him seated at a desk away from other students, and wearing a trash bag a teacher had turned into a poncho, in his classroom at Wentworth Elementary.

Nyesha called it dangerous, disrespectful, and absolutely unnecessary.

“My heart broke,” she said.

She complained to the teacher. She says the teacher explained she was concerned Lloyd would get sick from being in a wet shirt.

The next day, Terry checked in and found the teacher had done it again.

As an epileptic, saliva often times drips onto Lloyd’s shirt. But his previous school didn't need a garbage bag. His mother also says the school had bibs and extra clothing if it was needed.  She also says she doesn’t why know Lloyd wasn't sitting next to other students in his class.

“He is the only child that was isolated,” she said.

She said she took her concerns to the principal and also repeatedly called CPS for answers but hasn't heard anything.

WGN contacted CPS and they issued a statement saying, in part, "We work to ensure all students are comfortable in their learning environment. This incident is inexcusable and CPS has launched an investigation. We will take all appropriate actions to ensure this issue is resolved and prevented from happening again."

8 comments

  • Vanya Peterson

    This is absolutely pathetic!!!! I would bet that if this teacher had a young son with seizure disorder she wouldn’t have done this. In fact I would even go so far as to say she would feel just offended as I am at the moment! The child cannot help it that he has a disability – what in God’s Green Earth would possess an educator to pull such a stunt?? Mom needs to call the Center for Independent Living in Chicago for an Advocate! Access Living 312-640-2100!!!!!!

  • LauraRenee

    Okay, I am not buying that this was downright cruel. It was stupid and thoughtless to put a plastic bag on the boy but is it the school’s responsibility to go out and buy bibs and extra clothes for the boy or is it his mom’s responsibility? He was being supervised after all. As far as him sitting by himself, perhaps he had been having a temper tantrum or something. Maybe it has nothing to do with prejudice against kids with special needs. Maybe he was distracting the rest of the class from learning while the teacher was teaching. We don’t really know, do we? NOT that I am siding with the teacher but I am keeping my mind open. I don’t consider it cruel. I consider it more cruel that the mother didn’t bring bibs and extra clothes for her kid to begin with.

    • Sandy

      maybe you didn’t read the article. the mother clearly said the school had extra clothes and bibs for the child. i’m sure she provided them.

    • Claire Sparks

      First of all: no need to blame the victims here. No one cares if you “buy” the cruelty of the case. It’s obviously an abuse. Those bags are labeled as being deadly for children, due to suffocation reasons. What if he went in a bathroom stall, flopped around in this plastic tunic, and suffocated? Would that have to happen for you to realize it’s cruel?
      Second of all: Don’t be an idiot. If you read the article, you’d know the school is actually equipped with bibs to take care of special needs students; they can not have these type of courses without basic supplies. If you so much as watched the video, you’d see she wrote in giant black sharpie the kid’s name on the inside of one such bib; a logical person could tell this is probably what he brings to school and the name is there in case the bib is detached at some point. Why else would she label the inside of his clothes? Quit looking for reasons to pin it on the mom.
      Third of all: it’s a special education classroom. They are all somewhat distracting to each other. There’s not really a set lesson plan.
      How about next time you keep your mind open and your mouth shut?

      • Pip Pro

        There is no need for calling people idiots and saying “if you had read the article”… when it appears you did not. The article stated the child was in a kindergarten class, not a special education class. The child could have been separated from the other students for lots of different reasons. We don’t know yet. If it was because he is disabled then the teacher has a lot to answer for and needs retraining on special needs kids. Regardless, she needs retraining when it comes to basic safety. A garbage bag on a kindergartner, disabled or not, geez. That can’t be justified.

        While I agree on certain points in your post I do have comment that it could have been said better. This country will keep falling apart as long as people name call other people when they state their opinion. It will also keep falling apart when a conversation can’t be had. Since you don’t agree with Laura you call her an idiot and tell her to keep her mind open and her mouth shut? Sounds like you are really tolerant towards people that don’t agree with you. When I run across intolerant people, whether I agree with them or not, I will dismiss their opinion because it really doesn’t matter if they can’t listen to any one else’s opinion with respect.

  • Claire Sparks

    What’s just an added offence is the abuse of power by CPS and the principal. Why does it take the media to get a response out of anyone anymore? It was OBVIOUSLY a problem; the teacher clearly should have been fired, but they did nothing. Now they look even worse! Freaking think, people!! Obviously this is wrong. Obviously it is a story that will catch fire if you support the woman who is abusing a special needs child. Why the heck wouldn’t you do the right thing BEFORE a camera pointed at you? The principal should be fired for negligence. He has just proven he does not have the best interest of these students at heart.

    • Shannon

      Plain and simple the sweet child should have never been put into a plastic bag, This is just wrong, for any adult to treat a child like this and for CPS and the Principal not to respond when it happened a 2nd time is just wrong.

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