A Chicago Public Schools mother is questioning a district policy following an incident in which she says her 10-year-old son's school called the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services after he was picked up seven minutes late.
JaNay Dodson, a CPS high school teacher, said her son, who attends Inter-American Elementary School in Lake View, was supposed to take the bus home on a recent day, but there was confusion regarding bus routes.
According to CPS pick-up policy, school staff should contact the parent or guardian who usually picks the child up. If that person can't be reached, they should leave a message for them and all emergency contacts, explaining the school will call police and DCFS if the child isn't picked up by 4:30 p.m., the policy stated.
Dodson says, however, the policy wasn't followed.
"They did not call me, and they did not call any of my emergency contacts," the mother said.
In a statement regarding the incident CPS said, "The policies the district has in place are intended to keep students supervised and safe. That said, we are aware of the circumstances of the incident, and we are in the process of reviewing it.”
A number of parents have sided with Dodson, signing a petition to change the pick-up policy and calling for an investigation into possible discrimination.
"We believe this was applied in a differential way, because there are parents that have had late pickups and have not had this policy applied to them," said Dr. Carolina Barrera-Tobon, a local school council parent representative.
Dodson, who is under investigation for child neglect says she'll push for the DCFS report to be taken off her record as she's concerned about how it could impact her future.
"Like literally, I feel like the black sheep," she told NBC 5. "And I am the Black lady that got punished and got thrown into the system that is difficult to get out of."