A video taken on a cell phone which shows a teacher placing a student in a chokehold while attempting to break up a fight has surfaced. The boy’s parent, identified as Shunkita Qualls, said her 16-year-old son was involved in a fight with another student at Northeast Prep in East Memphis. She told reporters that she thought the teacher had used more force than was absolutely necessary, causing bruises all over the boy’s arms and neck. Qualls also said a police report had been filed and hoped the teacher would be punished.
When she saw the video, Qualls found out it was nothing like she had been told by the school’s officials. The video shows the teacher and some other students trying to break up the fight. The teacher then puts the boy in a chokehold for over 14 seconds, according to Fox13.
“The other boy in the video clearly states he walked out of the room, so there’s no reason to slam him on the ground, none of that… choke him. My son has asthma. He said while he was on the ground, he can’t breathe… he’s calm,” said Qualls.
The Shelby County School’s policy states that teachers can use “the minimum physical force required lasting for the shortest time predictable, to correct or restrain a student.”
Qualls says, “I don’t understand how this can be justifiable, because the fight has stopped and the other child went outside… this man should’ve stopped and just leave him [her son] alone. He was already calm, he told him. He said, ‘I’m calm.'”
When contacted, the school district sent out a statement which partially read, “We are aware a fight took place yesterday between two students. This fight resulted in a teacher attempting to break up the melee. School security and administrators have reviewed the video and felt that the actions taken by the teacher were used to prevent the student from retaliating against the other student.”
The police were called after Qualls took her son to the hospital to have his injuries looked at. For now, the two students have been suspended for a week.