‘He Should Be Fired’: HS Security Supervisor Not Penalized for Kneeling on Black Teen’s Neck, District Officials Say ‘Sorry’ But He’ll Be Retrained and Relocated
A San Diego high school security supervisor won’t be facing any steep penalties for his involvement in pinning a Black teen to the ground by her neck. Instead, Grossmont Union High District officials say he was placed on administrative leave, will be retrained and moved to another school.
The viral incident that was shared to social media took place on Aug. 31 at Valhalla High School. Two female students were involved in a lunchtime fight when multiple security staff moved in to break things up.
The supervisor — whose name is redacted in the report — is a former sheriffs deputy who was seen holding down both girls before ultimately restraining one of the participants by kneeling on her neck and holding her hands behind her back.
Attorney Dominic Quiller was hired by the district to conduct an investigation into the incident that caused public outcry. He ultimately determined the supervisor’s tactics to be overly aggressive and restrictive of the teen’s airways.
“Student B is a 14-year-old girl, yet there are 4 men, one of whom is almost 7 feet, holding her down, and at one point holding her in an elevated hogtie position,” Quiller’s report reads. “To be sure, the students themselves immediately perceived the excessiveness of the employees’ actions which is why they immediately closed in on the altercation presumably to protect their classmate from further harm.”
“As a district, we own what’s in this report,” said GUHSD Superintendent Theresa Kemper in the message. “We have a Board policy in place to prevent this from happening, but our training — as robust as it was — needed to be stronger. So my message to the student is this: I’m sorry. This shouldn’t have happened.”
The moment was eerily similar to fatal of arrest of George Floyd where white Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was recorded kneeling on his neck. Online people outraged by the fight video commented, “He should be fired he knows with what happen in the past he went head did knee to the neck WTF is wrong with white men 🤔”
“They will not get our children used to being abused like this this is a lawsuit and we don’t just want a lawsuit we want them fired.”
According to the report, termination was not a recommendation due to the supervisor’s lack of adequate training. Students who witnessed the fight and security staffers’ actions were taken aback.
“Seemed a little aggressive, like a big burly dude on a freshman, I heard she was a freshman,” said Valhalla senior Duncan Galvez told CBS 8 San Diego. “Either way, she’s only 14-18 years old so that’s kind of, a big 200-pound dude and a smaller female.”
At the time, Superintendent Kemper released a message saying, “In light of the events that have taken place in America over the last two years, it’s completely understandable that students and members of our school community are upset.”
Tasha Williamson, a community activist, believes the violent encounter exposed a deficiency in the staff’s training — something that Kemper corroborated weeks later after reviewing the investigation report.
“He stayed on top of her. He didn’t let he go. She wanted him off of her,” said Williamson. But that’s not all she claimed. “They know how to treat their white children, they just don’t know how to treat our Black children. I want them to know from me, as an activist, we want you to treat our children as if they were white because clearly there are racial disparities in treatment.”
The NAACP also issued a statement saying, “It is long past time for something to be done. No more insincere statements, no more lip service, no more ‘training” without follow-through. There need to be CONSEQUENCES for violent racist behavior from people under color of authority.”
Valhalla HS is predominantly white with Black students only making up 2 percent of the student body. But not everyone is sold on race being an underlying factor in the supervisor’s actions.
“Nothing racist about it this. Just bad parenting and not being accountable for their kids actions. This is getting old and know [sic] one cares.”
“I don’t think race had anything to do with it…just a guy trying to break up a fight, in waaaaaay over his head.”