Berkeley police station under renovations. Photo: Village of Berkeley
Parents of a kindergarten class are unhappy after their kids were locked up in jail as part of a field trip.
The class at Sunnyside Elementary School in the west suburban Chicago suburb of Berkeley were supposed to be taking an “educational field trip” to the town’s public library and village hall. But what parents didn’t know is that the trip also supposedly included a visit to a jailhouse, where the class was locked in a jail cell.
According to the Sun-Times, the class was reportedly shown several weapons items such as an ankle holster.
“I wouldn’t have wanted a kindergartner being shown a gun holder and all that,” Lisa Wanderer, whose daughter Aliyah was on the field trip, said. “My daughter was uncomfortable.”
One mother, Carmen Ware, wondered what message was being given to the children, including her son Stephen.
“Is this supposed to be a scared-straight tactic? For 6-year-olds? I don’t get this,” Ware said. “What exactly is Sunnyside School saying, that it is a temporary holding facility for the jailhouse?”
Stephen’s grandmother, Flora Ware, had originally signed the permission slip for the field trip, and was also upset about the supposed change in itinerary.
“We are wondering what they are prepping [Stephen] for,” Flora said. “What are they saying to kindergartners? If you don’t listen to us, this is where you are going to end up?”
What’s unknown is what specific jail the children would have visited.
Jennifer Johnsen, the village administrator for the village of Berkeley, said, “The Berkeley Police Station is currently under construction and our holding is being done by another agency. Therefore, we currently do not have any functioning jail cells.”
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