Chicago high school teacher charged with pulling gun on suspended student – NBC Chicago
Chicago Public Schools suspended a Southeast Side High School teacher who allegedly threatened a student with a gun.
Emily Lozano, a senior at George Washington High School, 3535 E. 114th St., claims the teacher harassed her for weeks after an argument in class. She said it peaked in late February.
The teacher pulled a handgun from her bag, showing its grip, and said, “I would like you to keep playing with me,” according to 17-year-old Lozano.
They were in a classroom with only one other teacher, who later denied it had happened, Lozano said.
“I literally froze. … I was in shock,” Lozano said. “I didn’t know if I should tell anyone, if anyone would believe me.”
She gained confidence to speak to the school administration about the incident several weeks later, but said she felt the school was not taking her concerns seriously.
“Three months, and the school did nothing,” she said.
After Lozano told reporters about the incident, the CPS sent a letter to parents Monday saying a teacher had been suspended while the district legal department investigated.
“Safety is always our top priority, which is why I must inform you of a situation that has come to light. There has been an allegation that one of our staff members has behaved inappropriately” , wrote Jacqueline Hearns, the administrator in charge of the school, to the parents without giving more details.
Principal Barbara San-Roman is on maternity leave, a CPS spokesperson said.
The CPS is following its procedures to investigate the allegation, the district said in an emailed statement.
Chicago police are investigating. No one is in custody or charged, a department spokesperson said.
Fearing reprisal from his teacher, Lozano did not tell an adult about the alleged incident until visiting his uncle last weekend in Gary, Indiana.
“I was dumbfounded,” her uncle, Andrew Houston, said of his response to the hearing of the allegation. “It scares me that someone in that leadership position would do something like that.”
Houston went to the school on Monday to meet with police investigating the incident, he said.
School administrators gave him a copy of a redacted school report that detailed interviews with Lozano.
The document, shared with the Chicago Sun-Times, shows the teacher was also accused of bullying Lozano’s friend, calling it a homophobic slur. The teacher also allegedly pushed Lozano in the halls of the school and insulted her.
“This is not an isolated incident,” Houston said. “This woman has a history with a number of students.”
The teacher began pressuring Lozano to tell the school administration that she had not threatened her friend, Lozano said. But Lozano said she remained “neutral”, which infuriated her teacher. This led to the teacher showing her the gun in the classroom during lunchtime, she said.
Lozano said she trusted the teacher and confided in her.
“It was almost like I was trying to cheat myself, it didn’t happen, because I felt like I was close to this teacher,” she said. “I trusted him with everything. It felt like a full 360.
Lozano’s father, Juan Lozano, said a security guard now follows his daughter around the school to ensure her protection.
The high school’s local school board voted to remove Chicago police officers from campus in 2020. Juan Lozano said he thinks if resource officers were still present, it might have deterred the teacher from acting so brazenly.
Lozano is graduating from school this semester and plans to attend Olive-Harvey College. She wants to be a psychiatrist or a social worker.
Lozano said “it sucks” that she had to tell her story to the public for the school to start investigating. She wants the teacher fired and serving a prison sentence.
“She threatened me for months, pushed me in the hallways, spreading personal rumors about other students,” Lozano said. “She made so many people miserable.”