By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As expected, the family of the kindergartener who was kidnapped last January from Bryant Elementary School in West Philadelphia today filed a federal lawsuit against the School District of Philadelphia.
The five-year-old girl was found the next day, partially clothed, at a playground in Upper Darby.
The civil rights lawsuit names the school district, the School Reform Commission, and teacher Reginald Littlejohn, who unwittingly released the little girl to the alleged kidnapper (see related stories).
“The school district, in an affirmative and reckless way, allowed a little girl to be taken from the cocoon of a kindergarten class into a den of horror,” says attorney Tom Kline, who now represents the girl and her family.
The lawsuit claims the school district’s failure to follow its own policy requiring proper identification of adults before releasing young students violated the girl’s civil rights.
The suit seeks damages but — more importantly, Kline’s says — the family wants change, “to assure that the Philadelphia School District has policies and procedures in place which will be followed meticulously and vigilantly, so that this will never happen again.”
Last year the school district admitted the abduction was the result of a breakdown in protocol.
Suspect Christina Regusters is currently awaiting trial.