(CNN)-- A school field trip that took Chicago area kindergartners to a jail has turned into a controversy after at least one child says he was put inside a cell, according to reports.
The field trip, organized by a Sunnyside Elementary teacher, was understood by parents to be a visit to a library, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
One boy, Stephen Stovall, six, was put in a jail cell, his parents told the paper.
“Is this supposed to be a scared-straight tactic?” Stephen’s mother Carmen Ware, wanted to know. “For six-year-olds? I don’t get this. What exactly is Sunnyside School saying -- that it is a temporary holding facility for the jailhouse?”
The boy’s grandmother, Flora Ware, wondered if there was a subliminal message in the jail visit. "What exactly are you saying? That this is his ultimate future? This is your outcome in life? This is what we expect of you?" Ware told HLN affiliate WSL.
A call by HLN to Hillside police Chief Joseph Lukaszek was not returned Friday, but in an interview with the Sun-Times he disputed that anybody, especially a child, was put in a jail cell.
“They were never placed in jail cells,” Lukaszek said. “We have six jail cells [and] not once were they placed in jail cells. They walked past one of our cells, the door was open. They were shown a bed and a toilet. Nobody was allowed in. I think the young man, because he was in our holding area, and the holding area has bars, he may have interpreted it as a jail cell, because he didn’t know the difference.”
Several HLN staffers told this writer that they have indeed been on school field trips to jails -- and were put behind bars briefly as part of the experience.
We want your opinion. Have you ever been put in a jail as part of a field trip? Or is that way overboard for an educational trip?