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Officer Assaults Special-Needs Student

| 1 Comment

This spring, at the Academy for Learning in Dolton, Illinois, a school police officer allegedly assaulted a 15-year-old special-needs student for not adhering to the school's dress code, according to CNN.

The confrontation, which was caught on a school surveillance videotape, reportedly began when the officer admonished the student for not tucking in his shirt properly, in violation of the school's dress code.

In the video, the student responds to the officer, after which a faculty member grabs the student's arm. The student resists, pulling away and walking down the hall, followed by the officer and faculty member. The officer then slams the student against the lockers and pins him on the floor, breaking his nose, according to the student's attorney. The officer was treated at a hospital for an eye scratch.

"Unfortunately, the physical restraint of a student sometimes becomes necessary," according to a statement submitted by the school to CNN. "In such instances, AFL and its staff are committed to employing techniques that are safe, effective and which conform to best practice standards.

After reviewing the tape, the Dolton police department removed the officer from the school and placed him on administrative leave; he has since voluntarily resigned.

The parents are considering suing the city of Dolton, the school, and the Dolton police department. The student now attends a different school.

1 Comment

I'm sorry, that canned statement that, "Unfortunately, the physical restraint of a student sometimes becomes necessary," is just not appropriate here. It becomes problematic when police officers are used not to enforce the law, but rather school policies such as dress code. Turning the injured student over to police authorities to hold until his parents could pick him up is symptomatic of an abdication of responsibility for the welfare and appropriate discipline of students. If the school requires police back-up to get students to tuck in their shirts, there is a problem within the school culture that needs to be addressed. Calling in the big guns for every minor conflict is nothing more than a grandstanding power play--a poor way to garner respect.

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