Family files lawsuit, mother speaks out after security guard seen on video throwing student into Proviso West High School classroom

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HILLSIDE, Ill. (CBS) – A teenager 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.

On Monday, the student’s mother spoke exclusively with CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey.

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

Iesha Cross has seen the one-minute video countless times over the past six weeks.

“It’s devastating to watch this video over and over again,” she said. “I’ve seen it many times.”

But Cross still can’t get away without crying. On December 10, his phone rang.

“Hillside police called me and he asked me if I was seated?” says Cross.

Police told Cross that her then 17-year-old son, who we’ll call LP, was drawing on the whiteboard at the front of his civics class when school security guard Eligah Skinner walked into the classroom and tried to pull the marker away from him.

And within seconds, Skinner got his hands on LP.

“Throw it all around the classroom, on the desk, and keep throwing it on the floor,” Cross said.

Skinner finally pulled LP hard to the ground.

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“He had his hand on that throat, choking it, holding it with his throat, cutting off his airway for quite a while – which is the classic definition of strangulation,” family attorney Jon said. Erickson.

In a statement, Proviso Township High School District 209 said, “This was a spontaneous assault on a child who posed no threat to himself or anyone else.”

Not only is Skinner named in the lawsuit filed Monday, but the civics professor is also seen in the video.

“All he had to do to intervene was say, ‘Hey, he has 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 in the classroom”, so far you could have intervened – anything.

As for the school resource officer, court records show that Skinner is a sworn officer with the Phoenix, Illinois, police department, but is still in training. The school said he would not be allowed to return to school grounds.

But Cross said the damage was already done.

“It changed his life. Physically, emotionally, it’s tough,” Cross said of his son. “I thought, like I said, it was safe to send him to school. . I never imagined this would happen to him.”

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

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On Monday, a school district spokesperson told me its legal team was reviewing the lawsuit and had no comment at this time.

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