Watch CBS News

Family Files Lawsuit, Mother Speaks After Security Guard Was Seen On Video Throwing Student Around Classroom At Proviso West High School

HILLSIDE, Ill. (CBS) -- A teen was attacked in his classroom by a security guard at Proviso West High School in Hillside last month – and a federal lawsuit has now been filed.

The student's mother on Monday talked exclusively to CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey.

The federal lawsuit was filed Monday morning. It names not only the school resource officer who was involved – who was already charged with aggravated battery – but it also names the teacher who stood by and let it all happen.

Iesha Cross has seen the minute-long video countless times in the last six weeks.

"It's devastating to watch this video over and over," she said. "I've seen it many times."

But Cross still can't get through it without crying. On Dec. 10, her phone rang.

"The Hillside police gave me a call and he asked me, was I was sitting down?" Cross said.

Police told Cross that her then-17-year-old son, who we'll call LP, was drawing on the white board at the front of his Honors Civics class when the school's security officer, Eligah Skinner, entered the class and tried to take the marker away from him.

And within a matter of seconds, Skinner put his hands on LP.

"Fling him all around the classroom, on the desk, and proceeds to throw him on the floor," Cross said.

Skinner eventually pulled LP violently to the ground.

"He had his hand on this throat, choking him, holding him down with his throat, cutting off his airways for a good amount of time - which is the classic definition of strangulation," said family attorney Jon Erickson.

In a statement, Proviso Township High Schools District 209 said, "This was an unprompted assault on a child who was not a threat to himself or anyone else."

Not only is Skinner named in the lawsuit filed Monday, so is the civics teacher seen in the video.

"All he needed to do to intervene was to say: "Hey he has the permission to be where he is. I don't need your help. Stand back,'" Erickson said.

"He could have gotten help. He could have called someone to the classroom," far You could have stepped in — anything.

As for the school resource officer, court records show Skinner is a sworn officer of the Phoenix, Illinois police department - but is still in training. The school said he will not be allowed back on school grounds.

But Cross said the damage has already been done.

"This has been life-altering for him. Physically, emotionally - it's hard," Cross said of her son. "I thought, like I said, it was safe sending him to school. I never imagined that would happen to him."

Cross said her son is now back in the same civics class with the same teacher at Proviso West.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the school district told me their legal team is reviewing the lawsuit and has no comment at this time.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.