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Georgia High School Teacher Fired for Manhandling ‘Belligerent’ Student with a Weapon Gets His Job Back with a Suspension: ‘I Don’t Feel Like I Did Anything Wrong’

A teacher in the Atlanta suburb of East Point was disciplined for restraining a female student after she knocked a phone out of his hand. Despite the teenage Black girl being “belligerent,” “aggressive,” and later being found to have had a gun on school property, the coach was fired.

Kenneth Miller, the Tri-Cities High School athletics director, claims he was notified on Aug. 20, 2021, by his principal that there was a possibility that guns were brought onto the school’s campus during one of the team’s pep rallies.

Video screenshot police dashcam

While trying to locate the weapons on the school’s property, Miller intervened in the detention of a female student.

Miller’s attorney says he saw the student earlier on security footage passing a backpack to another student.

Police bodycam video shows the girl surrounded by police officers and other eyewitnesses in an office, and at some point the agitated teen lost control of her emotions and struck a cellphone out of Miller’s hand.

In response he grabbed her by her shoulders and slammed her against a whiteboard. She shoved him back wildly, and he hit the bookcase. The assembled police officers then tased the girl.

After the altercation, it was discovered that the student had a loaded gun. However, since school officials are not allowed to grab students like that, he was fired.

Eventually, after a few months, the school district reversed the decision and gave him back his job. Miller is not back at the school coaching but has been suspended for 20 days.

Fulton County Schools released a statement about their decision, stating that what he did to the girl could have violated “portions of the Georgia Professional Standard Commission.”

It also said in part, “The district administration does not support Mr. Miller’s actions relating to this event and believes his conduct failed to meet the professional expectations it has for employees.”

“Mr. Miller inappropriately intervened in a student matter being handled by school administrators and law enforcement,” it continued. “Mr. Miller acted outside of the scope of his authority and responsibilities.”

Miller disagrees and claims he handled the situation with the teenager that he called, “very belligerent” in accordance with the district’s policy.

“That young lady later became very belligerent, screaming, yelling, cursing, slaps my hand, and hits me,” he claimed to local station CBS 46. “And I restrained her.”

“I feel like accepting a suspension is totally unacceptable. Simply because I don’t feel like I did anything wrong,” Miller said.

He said in a different interview, “I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. I only adhered to what Fulton County School Board Policy says you’re allowed to do.”

The teacher noted that because he helped locate firearms on the school’s property, including the weapon that belonged to the young lady he grabbed, he “saved lives.”

He further believes that with students carrying weapons to class, he and everyone around him were in a “hostile environment.”

“Anytime you have a gun and weapons on campus, plus a hostile environment where students have already been in altercations that day and things of that nature, yes, we could have possibly prevented something.”

Miller doesn’t believe he should be suspended for the top-of-the-school-year incident and has hired representation, Allen Lightcap. Miller describes his suspension as “taking money out of my family’s mouth.”

Lightcap contends that the school stopped the termination hearing and decided to pursue suspension last year. In this scenario, Miller will not have an opportunity to defend himself before the court. 

Lightcap argues that should Miller go through with the termination hearing he might be able to clear his name. The lawyer has another suggestion that will allow the school district and Miller some rest. 

He says, “Drop the termination. Drop the suspension. Put him back to work at Tri-Cities High School.”

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