Another school resource officer assaults a child

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A school resource officer in slammed a Florida high school student to the floor in September and has finally been charged with in the incident.

Deputy Willard Miller, 38, is seen on Cross Creek High School surveillance video grabbing a 15-year-old female student by the neck and then slamming her to the floor in what appears to be a clear case of abuse of power and no fear of consequences. Miller was quickly removed from the school and placed on “restrictive administrative assignment,” but it took another month before he was suspended without pay, pending the results of an investigation. He finally turned himself in on Tuesday, when he was formally charged with child abuse without great bodily harm. He was released on $5000 bond.

Broward County School District is no stranger to violence in schools, having been the district where last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead and 17 more injured. An investigation into the shooting found that up to 8 school resource officers ignored protocol that might have saved the lives of students and teachers by attempting to disarm the shooter and allowing additional paramedics into the building to treat the wounded. The shooting remains the deadliest high school shooting in United States history.

Miller was in the employment of the county sheriff’s department since 2016, and has served the high school since 2018. He had no prior disciplinary record.

Cross Creek High School in Pompano Beach, Florida, has a rating of 1/10 on GreatSchools, citing low test scores and poor college readiness. It has a predominately non-white minority student population of nearly 70%. Eighty-four percent of students are considered to be from low-income households. The student suspension rate is abnormally high. It is known as being a school for those with emotional or behavioral problems.

Broward County school officer accused of slamming 15-year-old student to ground

Florida Deputy Charged With Child Abuse After Throwing 15-Year-Old to Ground

Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Cross Creek School – GreatSchools

School Resource Officers, “pillars of the community”

Just a few news articles about school resource officers over the past couple weeks.

9/23/2019 – Florida school resource officer arrests, handcuffs 6-year-old girl
School resource officer fired after arresting 6-year-olds(“She was having a tantrum,” so apparently police were called in. Their hands were bound with zip ties, they were fingerprinted and charged with battery. But the officer was fired, so I guess all’s well that ends well, right?)

9/24/2019 – School resource officer faces charge after student said he choked him (A Mississippi SRO was placed on administrative leave. The student says he was pushed into the ladies’ restroom and choked. The SRO insists it’s all a lie. Witnesses, including two teachers, corroborate the student’s story.)

9/26/2019 – Alabama grandmother alleges SRO harassed middle school student (An SRO approached a group of children in the lunch room and asked “Which one of y’all’s daddies have I not arrested yet?” When a girl responded that her father hadn’t been arrested, the SRO responded with, “That’s because you don’t know who your daddy is.” This officer has an apparent history of harassing students, yet he remains on duty.)

10/1/2019 – Lawsuit alleges disabled Parma student was sprayed with drink by school resource officer prior to suspension (Ohio parents filing the lawsuit claim they have audio proving the SRO sprayed the child with a juice box as they waited for the principal. They are also claiming discrimination – the student is American, but of Arab descent. Many of these incidents involving SRO’s are allegedly racially motivated.)

10/4/2019 – Jasper Middle School resource officer resigns after probe into texts with students (The Tennessee SRO resigned even though there was found to be “nothing inappropriate” about texting middle school students at all hours of the day and night.)

10/4/2019 – School resource officer sentenced to 1 year in jail for sexually assaulting 3 high school students (A Michigan SRO pleaded no contest to charges such as criminal sexual assault of a minor, assault, and misconduct in office. One of his victims had aspirations of becoming a police officer. Now she is scarred for life. He gets a whopping year in prison.)

This woman gets it. Her article about the need to eliminate school resource officers is spot on, and advocates for the students SRO’s do not. Schools infringe on civil liberties as they are, but school resource officers only compound the issue.

Caught on video: student resource officer chokes, handcuffs high school student

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Student resource officers are little more than glorified CO’s at the prison that is public school. While supposedly intended to promote good relations between inner city and low-income students and police officers (assuming that they are destined to deal with them regularly in the future?), these officers regularly abuse their positions, and children have little to no rights when it comes to dealing with them.

This time, it was all captured on a cell phone camera, the video taken once things became violent. A’kayla Johnson spoke about the incident with reporters, saying, “He choked me and drug me in the hallway. I couldn’t breathe while he was choking me.”

Bobby Burnett, the officer in question, is a former chief of police who was fired from that job, and wound up working at the school. He “detained” Miss Johnson apparently because she was loitering on Brinkley High School property after hours, even after she attempted to explain she was waiting for a ride home.

Johnson is now reportedly afraid to come back to school and wishes for the resource officer to be punished. School officials are, as usual, “looking into the incident,” and assure parents the district is just as concerned as they are.

Brinkley Public Schools serves 534 students in two schools in Brinkley, Arkansas. Over 65% of its students are ethnic minorities, and it is well below the state average for reading and math test scores. Brinkley is the same school district that just last month sent out a letter to parents telling them of a reported gun on one of their school buses, so maybe they feel a real need for police presence.

VIDEO: Mid-South high school student choked, handcuff by student resource officer

Brinkley School District – Public School Review

 

School administrator pulls gun on staff

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Aurora, Colorado: home to the 2012 movie theater mass shooting that left a city, and a nation, in mourning, once again questioning what the Second Amendment means and how it should be implemented; now also home to Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, where an administrator brandished a gun at a staff meeting on Wednesday, threatening fellow employees at the school.

Tushar Rae, Dean of Instruction at the school, was arrested Wednesday on charges of bringing a concealed weapon to school and making violent threats. An arrest affidavit filed in district court says Rae took a gun from his waistband during a meeting with principal Taisiya Tselolikhin (say that name three times, fast) earlier that day, placed it on a table between them and threatened to shoot two school administrators.

The altercation apparently had something to do with test scores, and subsequently prompted a lockdown of the school while Rae left the premises – he was later arrested at his home.

A letter to families, which follows below, was made available in both English and Spanish via email and the school website. As usual, vagueness was the order of the day.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE AURORA WEST LOCKDOWN

APS Community:

I know that many of you may have questions about the lockdown that occurred at Aurora West College Preparatory Academy on Wednesday. First off, I want to thank the students and staff at AWCPA for following our safety and security protocols seamlessly. I also want to thank parents at AWCPA for their patience and support. Safety is our top priority.

We acknowledge that many of you have questions and may be frustrated. Please know that this is both an ongoing criminal investigation and personnel matter. We have many limitations we must adhere to in order to respect both processes.

During emergencies, we understand the urgent and important need to communicate with our community. Please know that we always work to share information that is timely, accurate and actionable through phone calls, emails and text messages. We cannot share information that is not confirmed, information that would compromise an ongoing criminal investigation or protected personnel information.

We have been working closely with the Aurora Police Department, Denver Police Department and other law enforcement agencies as their criminal investigation continues. Our focus remains on providing as much support to our students, staff and community as possible.

Many of you may be seeing media reports that have raised concerns. APS staff have met with AWCPA staff, students and families to address concerns. We appreciate the opportunities we have had to talk with the school community throughout this week.

We know that this event has been upsetting for students and staff. We have had and will continue to have counselors available for those who need support. Counselors will continue to be available at Aurora West on Monday and throughout next week.

I would like to thank the AWCPA family for your vigilance, teamwork and support. It has been an extremely tough week and we will continue to work together to heal, support our students and each other.  

Rico Munn
Superintendent
Aurora Public Schools

Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, located just 15 minutes from where the mass shooting in 2012 that left 12 people dead and 70 injured, has a 3/10 rating on GreatSchools, citing low test scores (in some cases as low as 2% passing — far below state averages) and poor college readiness – proof, I think, that a fancy-sounding school name is not enough to get prepare youth for college. The school also boasts a 95% minority student population.

Educator accused of taking gun to school, threatening staff

GreatSchools – Aurora West College Preparatory Academy

Dean at Aurora West College Preparatory Academy arrested after lockdown

Aurora West Preparatory Academy – Official Website