Parent angry after kids say they saw gun on bus

March 9, 2010 2:57:19 PM PST
An angry parent is demanding action from Chicago Public School officials. He claims an incident on a school bus, witnessed by his children, was mishandled.The Chicago father, Steven Monaco, said he learned from his 7-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter that on their school bus en route to Ogden International East Campus on the near West Side, one month ago, another child showed them a gun on the bus.

Monaco says that child told his children not to tell about the incident because they would all get in trouble.

The father says he immediately contacted the school.

"The next morning, I went down stairs and waited at the bus stop and wanted to see if they could point out the children so I could go to the parent," Monaco said. "I was told that the assistant principal is not available; they are in the middle of testing and she will call you back."

Monaco says several hours passed, and he did not hear from the school. So, he called them back and still was unable to reach them, only to learn later in the day from his children that a security guard took his children to several classes so that they could identify the boy.

"Self-veral hours passed and he did not hear and he called back and still wasn't able to reach them only to learn that a security guard took his children to several classes so that they could identify the boy.

"My children got home off the bus, and I asked them what happened and they said, 'We found the boy.' I feel there can be some type of retribution, and now my kids are in a new school because we just moved down here and could be pointed out as tattle tells," Monaco said.

"Perhaps, it should have been handled in a different way, but the most important thing is there was never a firearm found," CPS spokesperson Monique Bond said. "The information we have based on the descriptions that were given is that it was a paper gun."

"[I think it was] very trivialized by the administration; he's only in first grade, and it's not a big deal," said Monaco.

The father says he finds it absurd that an assistant principal would neglect to contact a parent before parading children throughout the school trying to find the boy with a weapon.

"The school should have procedures for dealing with this type of situation. I would like an investigation done and the assistant principal place on administrative leave. She doesn't need to be in charge of this," Monaco said.

"We also want to hear both sides of the story," said Bond. "We do conduct a thorough investigation."

Monaco says he has sent CPS several e-mails and has not been pleased with how they have handled the situation.