CHICAGO — A teacher at a Chicago Public School was arrested for alleged inappropriate physical contact with one of his students.
Matthew Baron, 39, was charged with misdemeanor battery for an incident that allegedly took place in mid-March.
Baron teaches social emotional learning at Skinner West Elementary, a Kindergarten through 8th grade school in the West Loop. He has also taught English as a Second Language.
Wednesday, Chicago police arrested him on misdemeanor charges of battery – making physical contact with a minor.
Police said he rubbed a child’s back making “skin to skin contact for the purpose of sexual gratification.”
The mother of the middle schooler told WGN News Baron touched her son inappropriately at school. The lights in the classroom were dim at the time of the alleged incident. The students were watching a movie when, according to the student’s mother, Baron sat next to her son and starting touching his leg, putting his hands inside the boys clothing and rubbed and massaged him.
The student’s mother said she found out about the incident in late April and reported it to the school’s principal the next day.
This week the principal of the school sent a letter to parents saying the teacher has been removed from the school and CPS Office of the Inspector General is now investigating.
The letter reads in part:
Please know that we are taking this situation seriously, and we remain committed to providing our students with a safe, positive learning environment where they can reach their full potential.
Baron posted bond the same day he was arrested. WGN News attempted to speak with him at his home but he did not answer the door.
Many parents are standing behind Baron and hope his name will eventually be cleared. Some told WGN News they cannot imagine he would do anything remotely like what he’s been accused of.
“I trust him 100% so I am pretty shocked by these allegations and charges,” one parent told WGN News. “I think this was all blown out of proportion and I think it just comes from one person or one family and it’s simply not true.”
The student’s mother said she fears the teacher has been grooming her son the entire school year.
WGN News contacted CPS for a statement but have not heard back.