Substitute teacher charged with beating boy at Waukegan school

CHICAGO (CBS) — A substitute teacher in Waukegan has been charged with leaving a 14-year-old boy with a black eye and broken finger after getting physical with the student last month at Jack Benny Middle School.

Lamont Bankston, 49, is charged with one count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and four counts of aggravated battery in a public place, according to the Lake County Circuit Court Clerk’s office. A warrant has been issued for Bankston’s arrest.

Waukegan Community Unit School District #60 calls what happened at Jack Benny Middle School a breach of trust.

The boy who was injured, 14-year-old Brandon Cole spoke with CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar last week – straight from the hospital where he was treated for injuries to his face and hand. 

“I’m really scared right now, because my teacher hit me in the face,” Brandon said, “broke my finger, bruised my face.”


Supplied to CBS 2

Brandon said he was quarreling with another student inside a science classroom at Jack Benny Middle School Tuesday morning, when a teacher identified by the district as a substitute intervened and got physical.

“I don’t know what to say with it,” said Brandon’s mother, Natasha Cade. “I just know my son is hurt.”

Cade provided pictures of her son from the hospital. She said along with a bruised face and black eye, Brandon was left with a bloodied fractured finger.

“They’re not only not protecting students – but now they’re actually battering and abusing them,” said attorney Kevin O’Connor, who represents the family.

With her son standing next to her, Cade addressed the incident at a school board meeting on Oct. 25.

“Look at his face and tell me how you act – how should I feel?” she told the board.



Some of the board members voiced anger over what happened to Brandon too.

“I’m going to go hydrogen bomb,” said school board member Anita Hanna.

“Either we’re going to have zero-tolerance policy, or we’re not,” said school board President Brandon Ewing. “Either it’s OK to put our hands on kids, or it’s not.”

School District Supt. Theresa Plascencia addressed the 14-year-old directly during the meeting.

“Brandon, whatever we can do to support you, we are going to be here for you,” Plascencia said. “Whatever happened today – regardless of anything – no one ever has the right to put their hands on you.”

The district said last month that the teacher will not be back to any of its schools.

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