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Video shows Laveen student being pinned to the ground by school administrator: Family wants criminal charges

Video shows the school administrator getting on top of the 10-year-old student and putting her knee on his back. She stays there for close to a minute.

PHOENIX — A Valley mother says she wants justice for her son after surveillance video shows him taken down and held down by a school administrator. The employee is no longer with the district but the child's family says that is not enough. 

They want criminal charges.

The incident happened in April at Vista del Sur Accelerated Academy. According to the child's mother, the day started with a miscommunication.

She said her 10-year-old son showed up to school to school that morning and was told he was suspended the day before for going into another classroom. His mother says she was never notified. 

When he got to school that morning, the student was told of his suspension so he and the assistant superintendent were heading to the office. 

Video shows the two walking into the office and the administrator grabs the child and pushes him against a wall. She then takes him down to the ground and gets on top of him, putting her knee on his back.

“My son was raised to not hit adults, to respect them. But he was thrown around, and he was abused and didn't even do as much as a push," said Danielle Jordan, the student's mother. 

Video shows other employees in the office watching. The full video can be seen below:

“One of the main things he keeps telling me is why nobody helped me? Why did everybody just watch?” Jordan said.

Jordan was called a short time later and when she showed up, she called the police.

“He's kind, he's gentle, he's loving. He was raised around a big family in a loving home," Jordan said.

Jordan wants policy change and better training. She also wants the administrator charged with assault and those who witnessed the incident charged with failure to report.

Phoenix PD confirms the investigation remains ongoing.

In a statement, the Laveen School District said the video showed an "improper restraint" and it violated policy. They said the administrator is no longer an employee with the district, but did not specify whether she was fired, quit or retired.

“An improper restraint? It’s an assault," said attorney Robert McWhirter. "That is really minimizing what went on here."

Jordan said the district disenrolled her son. She said little action has been taken since the incident in April. Attorney Robert McWhirter said the district has recently reached out to offer school services to her son but say it wasn't enough. They want clarity about the action taken against the employees involved.

The district statement continued to say, "In late April, a district-level administrator was asked to come to Vista Del Sur Accelerated Academy to help with a student. While the student was being escorted to the in-school detention room, the administrator perceived the student was trying to exit the campus. While trying to stop the student from leaving campus, the administrator applied an improper restraint technique by grabbing hold of the student's arm and shoulder to prevent the student from doing so. The student struggled to pull away from the administrator and the two fell to the ground. While on the ground, the administrator leaned over the student for approximately 40 seconds in an effort to calm the student. When the student stood up, the student asked and was permitted to call the student’s mother."

"Phoenix Police were immediately called and met with the administrator, student, and parent. Police examined the student for injuries and no physical injuries were found. Video of the incident was captured by security cameras and turned over to the police and the parent."

"The District has fully cooperated with the police throughout this months-long investigation, which continues. Soon after the incident, the District retained an outside attorney who conducted an independent review of the situation. It was determined that the actions of restraining the student did not follow district policies. Corrective action was taken with the former administrator."

The district spokesperson said they have tried to meet with Jordan, her attorney and community advocates. Jordan said it wasn't until recently when she began sharing the video of what happened to her son that district staff began reaching out.  

On Thursday, Jordan, an attorney, advocates and concerned parents showed up to a Laveen School District board meeting to speak out.

“When you watch this video, it seems normal. Nobody was shocked and appalled," Jordan said. "As educators, we have a duty to report. We have a duty to help.”

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL:  Captado en video: Una familia esta indignada porque un pequeño de 10 años fue inmovilizado en el piso por la administradora de la escuela


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