South suburban school calls police on boy with autism over missing vaccine records, parents say

Samantha Chatman Image
Friday, December 9, 2022
School calls police on boy with autism over missing vaccine records
Meadowview Intermediate School in Country Club Hills is accused of calling the police on a child with autism over missing vaccination records.

COUNTRY CLUB HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- A south suburban school is accused of calling the police on a child with autism over missing vaccination records.

Tamir Rhodes' parent said their 8-year-old son has all his shots, and it was just a matter of getting the paperwork transferred over to the school nurse. But they said the school took extreme measures by calling the police on him for not having that record.

Shunita and Timothy Rhodes said they moved to Country Club Hills to give their children a good life and solid education, especially their youngest, Tamir. His parents said he was diagnosed with autism right before the pandemic started, but they had noticed signs of it since he was 4 years old.

They said he's a loving and kind child who makes friends easily. They are just trying to give him a better life.

But his mother said on October 17, Tamir was at Meadowview Intermediate School when she got a call from the school nurse requesting his vaccine records.

Shunita said she told the nurse that her son's previous school was within the district, and that they should have all of his shot records on file.

"Can you just call over there, call the nurse and obtain the records? To my dismay, she said 'no, that's not my job,'" she said.

She said she planned to call her son's former school that day to get the medical records faxed over, but first she had to step into a work meeting. While she was in that meeting, Shunita said she got a call from a Country Club Hills police officer who was at her home.

"He said to me that I was called here because of a case of neglect, and I said neglect? He said well ma'am, I can see that it's not a case of neglect, so can you just call the school district and work out the matter. I said, OK," she recalled.

Shunita said the school called police to pick up Tamir and send him home because he was now considered a trespasser.

Tamir was dropped off by officers and retrieved by his older brother. The Rhodes are outraged.

"What happened to sending a note in a child's bookbag?" Timothy Rhodes said. "I would have left work early to come get him instead of him riding in a police car."

The parents said the school hasn't been willing to address the issue, so they hired attorney Calvin Townsend to get answers.

"A kid who has special need, someone who feels comfortable in a certain environment and when you take him out of that environment you're further traumatizing him. We want the principal the school nurse to answer for and the district as well," Townsend said. "No kid should have to ride in the back of a police car over shot records."

The I-Team reached out to Meadowview Intermediate School to find out why Tamir was sent home with police and what their policy is for vaccine records. Principal Philip Bazile declined to comment and told the I-Team to reach out to the district's superintendent for a statement. Superintendent Dr. Duane Meighan never returned calls or emails.

The Rhodes said their son hasn't been the same since the incident and gets nervous when it's time to go to school. They said they hope this never happens again to Tamir or any other innocent child.

The I-Team reached out to Country Club Hills police, who confirmed they were called by the school because Tamir was considered to be trespassing. The chief said he was not handcuffed and was safely turned over to an adult at home.

The chief also said it was his understanding that the parents had been informed that someone needed to come pick Tamir up, but the Rhodes said that never happened.

From Country Club Hills Police Chief Galvin:

  • Our Department was called to Meadowview School at approximately 11:25 am on 10/17/22
  • Our Department was advised by the school that it was not legal for the student to be there due to medical exclusion (the Officer who was at the school related that he was advised that the student was considered to be trespassing)
  • The student was not handcuffed at any point
  • The student was never transported to our Police Department
  • The Officer who spoke to the mother via phone stated that it does not appear to be a case of neglect; this Officer was at the family residence speaking with the adult son when he spoke to the mother via phone (student was still under the care of the school)
  • When it was apparent that a family member could not pick up the student from the school, it was requested that our Department transport the student from the school to the family home; the student was safely turned over to the adult son who was at the residence and informed the mother of the matter.
  • I cannot speak on behalf of the school, but it is my understanding that the officer who was initially at the family home spoke with the mother via telephone, in the presence of the adult son, and the officer advised her that someone needed to pick up the child from the school and the he requested that she call the school
  • .