12-Year-Old Needs Stretcher After Guard Slams Him To Ground At School

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The student's mother admits her son has behavioral issues, but the force the guard used against her child was excessive and out of line, she says.

A mother of a seventh-grade student in Seattle is upset with the amount of force that was used against her son by a security officer in his school’s hallways.

The 12-year-old boy has behavioral issues and occasionally acts out, his mother admits. Yet the amount of forced used against him wasn’t warranted, she said.

Surveillance video from Feb. 16 shows the boy tearing school decorations down after an incident in his classroom in which he was forced to give up his cellphone after misbehaving. A security guard from the school corners the boy toward a door, where some details of the encounter are difficult to discern.

According to the guard’s account, the boy had tried to hit him, which forced him to use force against the child, resulting in him slamming the boy onto the ground. The force was so strong that the boy had to be carried out of the school on an ambulance stretcher.

Diana Lightner, the mother of the boy, admitted that she was hesitant when she was first called about her son’s injuries.

“Honestly, because I know my kid, I was like, 'Make him stand up. I'm sure he can stand up,'” she said. “I'm not one of those over-reactive parents.”

But after seeing the video for herself, she expressed regret over not taking her son’s claims more seriously — and outrage over the amount of force that was used.

“He was pushed into a doorway where nothing could be seen and then thrown to the ground,” she said of the incident.

“I was talking to social workers, talking to doctors, and they were basically all aghast at the amount of force used against a 12-year-old when no more force should have been a bear hug,” she added.

Her son has since transferred to a different school in the district, and an investigation into the matter is pending. The security guard’s name has not been released, pending the outcome of that inquiry.

It is sadly not the only case of excessive force being used on a teenager in a school setting. In January, a separate community expressed outrage when footage revealed another security guard slamming a 17-year-old in California.

When students become hostile, it’s important that security measures be taken in order to ensure others — students and staff alike — remain safe in our nation’s school hallways. But caution should also be given against using extreme force, and a proportional response to the student’s behavior should be given.

In this student’s case, he was tearing down school decorations and being a nuisance to students in the school he attended. He deserved to be punished — but not with the injuries he sustained, or the hospital visit he ended up needing. The force used against him was not necessary, and the school should consider employing other security guards who will use different means to produce a peaceful end.

Banner/thumbnail image credit: Flickr, Christopher Webb

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser 

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