Teacher Forced Schaumburg 7th Grader to Learn Behind Bookshelf, Mother Says

The mother of a seventh grade student at Schaumburg's Eisenhower Junior High School says a teacher isolated her son from his peers, forcing the student to learn by himself from behind a bookshelf.

Cameron James told NBC 5 his social studies teacher forced him and another minority student to sit in the corner of the classroom, hidden behind bookshelves.

The seventh grader believes he was targeted because of his skin color.

"We were so confused the first couple of days, why we were sitting in that seat and like what we could have done," he said.

James took a video from his Chromebook to show his mother and told her something wasn't right.

"I asked questions about you know, 'Were you talking too much? Were you being disruptive, disrespectful?' and Cameron was like 'No I haven’t," said his mother, Katie Otterness.

Otterness took her concerns to the superintendent, and the district launched an investigation into the claims. During that time, Cameron and his mother said they found out other students were also being targeted.

"He names a couple of other students that were also sitting in these corner seats, and all of them were either Hispanic or black children," the mother said.

While Schaumburg Community Consolidated School District 54 wouldn't comment on the specifics, it said in part "we treat all allegations of this nature very seriously and immediately conducted a thorough investigation."

Cameron's mother said she doesn't think the district is doing enough to address the situation. The teacher in question was removed to a different school, she told NBC 5. But she believes the teacher should be fired.

"It’s just completely unacceptable what she did to my child and what she did to these other children that maybe don’t have the voice that Cameron does," she said.

The full statement from the school district is below:

"We are aware of a post on social media regarding the conduct of one of our employees. The situation was brought to our attention by a parent of one of our students. We treat all allegations of this nature very seriously and immediately conducted a thorough investigation. School District 54 does not comment on personnel matters. 

We can, however, speak to the importance of all of our students and staff being treated with respect. In District 54, our mission is to promote a culture of unconditional belonging in which all students, staff and community members will be treated with dignity. 

We encourage any individual who feels they are being discriminated against or otherwise mistreated to report that behavior to school personnel for immediate action and response."

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