A 17-year-old Florida high school student has been charged with Felony Aggravated Battery with Bodily Harm, after knocking unconscious then brutally beating a staff member after she reportedly took his Nintendo Switch away during class.
The unnamed victim is a “paraprofessional” working in the school. A paraprofessional is an individual who is employed in a secondary school under the supervision of a certified or licensed teacher.
The incident occurred on Feb. 21, at Matanzas High School located in Palm Coast, Florida.
Disturbing video of the incident has gone viral on various social media platforms.
In surveillance footage, the student, who is reportedly 6’6” and weighs 270 pounds, can be seen knocking the victim to the ground — which knocked her unconscious — and then he proceeds to kick and punch her in the head approximately 15 times.
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“The 17-year-old student was transported to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility and later turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. The student has been charged with Felony Aggravated Battery with Bodily Harm,” reads a press release on the matter.
The student said that he was upset after the victim took his Nintendo Switch away from him during class.
“The actions of this student are absolutely horrendous and completely uncalled for,” said Sheriff Rick Staly in a press release. “We hope the victim will be able to recover, both mentally and physically, from this incident. Thankfully, students and staff members came to the victim’s aid before the SRDs could arrive. Our schools should be a safe place – for both employees and students.”
“Creating a safe learning and working environment on our campuses is critical. Violence is never an appropriate reaction,” said Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt, WWL Radio New Orleans reported.
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Pandemic of violence
According to a report by the American Psychological Association, published in March, 2022, during the pandemic, “One out of every three teachers (33%) reported at least one incident of verbal harassment or threatening behavior from a student, and 29% reported at least one incident from a parent of a student.”
The study surveyed 14,966 participants, 9,370 teachers, 860 administrators, 1,499 school psychologists and social workers, and 3,237 other pre-K through 12th grade school staff members, from all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
The study found that 14 percent of teachers reported incidents of physical violence from a student while 18 percent of school psychologists and social workers, 15 percent of school administrators and 22 percent of other school staff reported “at least one violent incident by a student during the pandemic.”
The violence is taking a toll on educators with nearly half surveyed expressing a desire to transfer schools or quit the profession altogether.
“The survey found nearly half (49%) of teachers expressed a desire or plan to quit or transfer to another school. More teachers reported a desire to quit (43%) than to transfer (26%),” the report says, adding that, “Although not as high as among teachers, a large percentage of school psychologists and school social workers (34%), school administrators (31%) and other school staff (29%) also reported a desire or plan to quit or transfer.”
Susan Dvorak McMahon, chair of the APA Task Force on Violence Against Educators and School Personnel, which conducted the survey said, “As teachers and schools learn to adjust to the realities of education during COVID, it is important to understand school safety concerns and how best to address them to create an effective and safe environment for students, teachers and school staff.”
“Violence against educators is a public health problem, and we need comprehensive, research-based solutions,” said McMahon. “Current and future decisions to leave the field of education affect the quality of our schools and the next generations of learners, teachers and school leaders in the nation. Physical and verbal violence directed against school personnel may be exacerbating reports of high stress, transfers and leaving the profession.”