National News

Mom claims daughter was inappropriately touched while at Metro East summer camp

Posted September 7

— A mother is speaking out after her child may have been inappropriately touched while in the care of school leaders in the Metro East.

Lacretia Springfield claims her 8-year-old daughter was inappropriately touched while at a summer camp for first through fifth graders at Whiteside Elementary School. She said sometime over the past several weeks inappropriate and sexual contact occurred between students, some of it too graphic to share.

"I have reason to believe that this has been going on more than this summer," Springfield said.

District Superintendent Peggy Burke said they had conversations only with camp parents following the initial report. Springfield said she was told her daughter wasn't a victim at first but a teacher at the school later told her in private that her daughter was a victim.

"She's seen me cry over this which I hate because now she knows it's hurting me and she doesn't want to hurt me," said Springfield.

Springfield said her son and daughter will not be going back to the camp.

Police confirmed to News 4 they are investigating along with the St. Clair County Sheriff's Office. Officials said they were only told about the incident when Springfield filed a report.

"That's telling me these teachers don't care about the welfare of these children," Springfield said.

April Ramsey has nieces and nephews who attend the school. She said is also concerned and scared because the student who is at the center of the allegations is still in the school.

"I just really want this child removed from this school because my nieces and nephews won't be going back until he or she is removed," said Ramsey.

Burke addressed the allegations in an email to district family members Tuesday afternoon:

I want to take this opportunity to inform our district parents and stakeholders of an alleged student-on-student incident that occurred over this past summer during the course of the district's SOAR program. Out of concern for the students' privacy, I cannot provide any details of this incident, other than confirm that no staff members were accused of any misconduct. This is strictly a student matter. School district administration reported the incident to DCFS and the district is cooperating with DCFS and local law enforcement with their investigation of this matter. The school district takes seriously all allegations involving students. Providing a safe and secure learning environment for your children remains our number one priority and we will do everything we can to ensure your children's safety while in our care.

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