Video shows Horace Mann Middle School staff member pinning student down with his knee

A teenager says he has been traumatized following an incident with a staff member at his school.

The 14-year-old student at Horace Mann Middle School in El Portal spoke to Local 10 News Tuesday, but didn’t want to show his face.

“Every time I go to sleep, I just wake up out of my sleep, sweating,” he said.

Video capturing the incident last Wednesday shows the student on the ground.

A member of the school staff is seen pinning him down, first with his knee on one of the child’s shoulders, then wrapping his hands around the boy’s neck.

The teen says the altercation started after he refused to take off his hoodie, something his aunt and legal guardian says he should’ve done when he was asked to do so.

“I know these kids, I know my nephews,” said Sabrina Height. “They have attitude problems. They can get very, very rude.”

Still, Height points to the adult’s actions seen in the video.

“I think that it could’ve been done totally different. Like if you know that, if he wasn’t listening, you got other ways, walking him to the office, call his parents, call me. I’ll deal with him,” she said. “It literally brought tears to my eyes because, it’s like, why?”

Height said watching the video made her fearful, and she’s glad nothing worse happened.

“My fear is him choking my nephew without knowing he’s got asthma, real bad asthma problem, and me having to sit down and explain to my sister that her son is no longer with us,” she said.

One mother outside the school Tuesday told Local 10 News that she has not seen the video, but she defended the guard and said she hopes he returns to campus.

“I feel more safe with him being here with my kid,” Candice Johnson said. “That does not sound like the same person that I know. That’s not the same person. I’ve seen videos where he’s had to pull people off of kids, and I’ve never seen him like that.”

A Miami-Dade School Board spokesman released a statement to Local 10 News that read:

“The behavior portrayed in this video is difficult to watch and runs contrary to the comportment that is expected of all Miami-Dade County Public School employees. This individual has been removed from the school pending the outcome of the investigation.”

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