The family of an 11-year-old Detroit girl is planning to sue the school district. They alleged that over the last year, the child has had to transfer schools after suffering head trauma at the hands of a substitute gym teacher at her former school.
The teacher threw a hockey stick and it hit the child in her head, causing bleeding, scarring, and brain damage. The educator said during her criminal trial where she was convicted of child abuse, she meant to hit another student.
Cha’Kyra Thomas, a former student at the Hope Academy elementary school, says she now has to wear glasses after being assaulted by Jacqueline Brown, according to an exclusive interview with Fox 2. Now her family has hired a lawyer to sue the teacher, the charter school, and the staffing company that places this teacher for the reckless act.
Brown was filling in for a permanent teacher last May when she got angry at one of the students. In a rage, she picked up a metal hockey stick and hurled it at the child. It missed the intended target, and hit Thomas, an innocent bystander, explains Thomas’ attorney Jon Marko.
“What kind of a teacher throws a hockey stick at a fifth-grader’s head? I mean you obviously have to have something wrong with your head,” Marko submitted.
The student described the incident, saying, “She was yelling and doing some cussing. The next thing I know, I feel something hard on the side of my head.”
The young girl did not immediately receive medical attention after sustaining the injury. Instead, her lawyer says, the school administration lost track of the girl. Her mother, when coming up to the school to bring the girl home, had to press school workers to locate her.
When they did, the attorney says, they found the girl wandering the hallways in a daze.
“When the mother of this little girl gets to the school and is wondering ‘where is my daughter,’ they couldn’t even find her,” Marko said. “She was found wandering the hallways confused with blood running down her face.”
Eventually, Thomas was taken to the hospital where she was treated for the gash in her head. Doctors stapled her head through her braids and since, she has been experiencing memory loss and nightmares, which the family says is connected to the head injury.
She has also been seeing a counselor to support her with the life changes she has experienced as a result of the incident.
“My memories, now I got to wear glasses and I don’t remember real good,” she said. “It’s like flashes what happened that day. I got hit on my head I remember kids just laughing at me.”
Brown was criminally charged for the assault and pleaded no contest on Thursday, Feb. 23 to one count of child abuse.
Thomas was present for the sentencing.
The plea agreement stipulates that Brown will do two years of probation and will be mandated to attend anger management classes. The lawyer says the teacher has never said sorry to the girl she hurt.
Brown is also no longer permitted to work in a school or any other educational position unless the court approves it.
The school has not issued a statement on the incident, the conviction, or the pending lawsuit.