Youngstown parents say son afraid of school since alleged draggi - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown parents say son afraid of school since alleged dragging incident

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Stevelyn Jackson and Lawrence Brooks Jr. Stevelyn Jackson and Lawrence Brooks Jr.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

A Youngstown couple claims that their four-year-old son had complained about his pre-school teacher even before a picture was taken that showed that teacher allegedly dragging their child by the arm down the hallway of Wilson School.

Stevelyn Jackson and Lawrence Brooks Jr. spoke exclusively with 21 News on Tuesday about the photo, which resulted in Alta Head Start teacher Jenn Lohr losing her job.

With the couple's attorney David Betras nearby, Jackson told 21 News about a phone call she says she received from her son's principal after picture was taken.

"One of the teachers caught Miss Jenn dragging my son backwards behind her," said Jackson as she recounted her conversation with the principal. "My son was crying, kicking, and screaming and trying to get away, and that the teacher Jenn Lohr refused to give my son to him, the principal or another teacher, when they asked."

"He told me the only excuse Jenn gave for not wanting to turn over my son was that they coddled him too much. The principal called authorities and took measures to get her out of the school," said Jackson.

The boy's father Lawrence Brooks, Jr said his son used to love to go to school.

"He wanted to go to school. That was the best thing ever for him. He would explain what they did and was excited," said Brooks.  "But then he started saying 'Daddy, I don't want to go to school. Daddy can I get a new school?'"

Brooks says he went to school one day to observe and  find out what was going on.

"I noticed when other kids in the class would be playing around and then my son would do the same. She would be more stern with him," said Brooks. "After seeing the picture and hearing what happened, my advice to parents is to listen to your kids.  If your kids say something ain't right. They ain't right."

Jackson says her son has asked to go  to another school. " After going through this my son has extreme fear," said Jackson. "When I try to put him on the bus he puts his arms around my legs or my arms and asks if Miss Jenn is going to be there. 'Will she pull on my shirt? Is she going to pull me backwards?'.

The mom said she used to trust the teacher. "I have pure disgust and anger. I am so upset because of what a teacher did to my son. He was in love with school," said Jackson. "When somebody puts fear in your child it's hard to erase that. We've been dealing with counselors, medication, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to turn it around. She has harmed my child mentally and that is different than the physical part. I don't know what is worse."

Speaking with 21 News print partner The Vindicator, Lohr said she has always been an advocate for children and her life is being destroyed by a snapshot.

She was upset the school did not do an investigation before firing her, telling Vindicator reporter Amanda Tonoli;

 " I would never hurt a child. We had been continuously working with him and his family throughout the school year. Several teachers, principals and police officers witnessed the student running.  I was calling out to him stop, stop, let's talk about this and let's figure this out. The student rounded the corner and ran into an assistant principal who put an end to the chase by picking up the student. The assistant principal handed the student to me."

Lohr told the Vindicator that as she was  walking the student back to class, he began hitting her chest so she put him down.  The former teacher says the boy laid down on the floor in another fit.

She says she grabbed the child's wrist and began to talk to him but he wouldn't get up and wouldn't stop screaming.

" I just kept talking to him and telling him he needed to get up and walk with me back to class." said Lohr, who also told The Vindicator that she did not drag the student.  

21 News reached out to Lohr's  Attorney Lawrence Palombaro who has stated there will be no interviews or comments at this time. 

Attorney Betras, who says the picture speaks for itself, says he is conducting an investigation and has sent letters to the Youngstown School District, and Alta which operates the preschool, advising them to preserve any evidence in what could become a legal matter.

Mahoning County Children Services is investigating.

The school district says Lohr was not fired, but was asked not to return to the school.

Alta, which runs the preschool, says it fired the teacher.  

"He's not the Lawrence he was when he first started school, " said the pre-school student's mother. "I expected him to be better. And for him not to be better is terrible. It's the fear part that just kills me and eats me alive. I can't believe that somebody put fear in my baby and to think that he got 13 years of school left. He hasn't even started and this is the outcome."  

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