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Teacher’s Aide accused of spreading HIV to a student



Teacher’s Aide accused of spreading HIV to a student

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

     Mario Hunt is a 35-year-old teacher’s aide who may have done the unthinkable to a young man at his school. Hunt is being accused of criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and transmission of HIV. According to court documents, the teacher committed the crimes against a 17-year-old boy on the school’s track team between Jan. 1, 2011 and June 21, 2011.

The student affected has been identified as a senior at Cahokia Senior High School, which is where Hunt teaches and works with the track team.

In court documents, it is revealed that Hunt is HIV positive and knew he had the virus when he slept with the minor. Officials don’t know if the student was infected or not. School officials found out what was going on after a mother complained to the superintendent. She says that the coach was sending inappropriate messages to her son on Facebook.

“I’m shocked by that,” said Cahokia, Illinois Superintendent Art Ryan. “I’m, you know, sad to hear that that’s a possibility. Again, I have no first-hand knowledge of any of this stuff; just what you have shared with me. I’ve not seen any reports about the charges being filed or anything of that nature. You know, again, with HIPA laws and so on, you know, people who are not compelled to share any situations they might have with their employers.”

Hunt has been jailed on $300,000 bond and school officials say that police are conducting individual interviews with all the athletes on the track team.

I am not sure if Mr. Hunt is guilty of this crime or not, but this incident brings several things to mind. First, it is a reminder that the abuse of minors is rampant in our society and in the African American community. There are thousands of young women who’ve been impregnated by older men, and a slew of gay Black males who had their first experience (and first infection) from an older man. This necessitates the importance of us taking this kind of abuse seriously and opening the doors of communication for our children to report these incidents before it’s too late.

The second thing that comes to mind with this incident is the increase in the number of single parent households in the Black community as a result of the mass incarceration epidemic over the last 40 years. This has led to a mental health crisis in the Black community, with a large number of Black men who’ve been exposed to a physically and mentally unhealthy environment while incarcerated. In many cases, single mothers are not always able to know when men have been harming their children, leading to devastating consequences. Of course, this man (to my knowledge) has never been incarcerated, and the boy’s mother wasn’t dating him, but there is a degree of trust that single mothers put in male role models, coaches, and mentors.

The point in all of this is that there is a long list of reasons for single mothers to be thoughtful about who their children interact with both inside and outside the home. During my years as a track coach, I was stunned by the number of single mothers who would trust me with their children without even knowing me. The reality is that you just can’t do that.

My father was once the commander of the Crimes Against Children unit in my home city. The stories he would tell shocked me to the core of my soul. In a lot of cases, the mother had no idea that her child was being assaulted while she was at work, and also, the man she loved was the one responsible. Incidents like this one serve as very clear reminders that we must protect our kids and clear our community of various forms of abuse that occur largely due to systemic racism trickling down to unchecked mental illness. This case is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the author of the book, “Black American Money”; to have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To take Dr. Watkins’ online class, visit this link.




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