LAVEEN VILLAGE, Ariz. - Surveillance video taken inside an elementary school office in Laveen shows a 10-year-old boy being grabbed by an adult who is reportedly a school administrator.
The boy's mother says her son was choked and kneed, and on Aug. 17, she voiced her concerns to the district's superintendent, during a meeting of the Laveen School District's governing board.
"In this situation, when a kid is being choked and kneed and can't breathe, you would think you would give me time to speak," said Danielle Jordan.
Jordan said the incident happened on Apr. 25, 2023, after her son found out he was suspended from Vista Del Sur Accelerated Academy. Jordan said her son was immediately taken into a separate classroom with a school district-level administrator named Kathy Davis.
"After he left the classroom, my son was scared," said Jordan. "He rushed to the bathroom. She went in with him, Kathy Davis, the assistant superintendent. They were in that bathroom for roughly five minutes. My son reports she watched him urinate. She verbally and physically assaulted him."
Another video shows them walk into the main office.
"When he entered in that office, he got pulled by his clothes, choked with his short. Then, she slammed him up against the wall, and tried to put a 5'3" boy into a headlock," said Jordan. "At that point, my son still did not fight back. He didn't even try to push or shove her or anything. She then proceeded to attack him, choking him by the back of his neck, pushing him down to the ground, elbowing and kneeing him to his ribs."
Jordan said she immediately filed a police report.
"My attorney's got a letter saying you dis-enrolled my son," said Jordan. "After everything that went on, you had the nerve to dis-enroll my son."
After learning the administrator was not put on immediate leave, Jordan said she hired an attorney, in an effort to protect her son and other students.
"It is with a great deal of sadness I felt compelled, because of what happened here, to ask the County Attorney to refer this for criminal prosecution," said attorney Robert McWhirter.
"I want to hold people accountable, but I want action, and I want justice for my son," said Jordan.
School district officials respond to allegations
In a statement, district officials said the now-former administrator was trying to stop the student from leaving campus, and the person applied an improper restraint technique by grabbing hold of the student's arm and shoulder..
"We acknowledge that the hold used in the video [was] not appropriate, and we do not condone such conduct," said Board President Jill Barragan. "Our staff members undergo training for holds, and will continue to undergo training for holds."
We asked why the student in the video was suspended in the first place, and why did Jordan not know, but Kristen Landry, a Communications Director with the district, said she cannot answer that question due to student privacy issues.
Full statement from Laveen School District
The Laveen School District is aware of the discussion and speculation around an incident involving a Vista Del Sur Accelerated Academy student being improperly restrained by a former district-level administrator.
Prior to the start of this school year, and up until yesterday, the District has tried repeatedly to meet with the parent through their attorney and community advocate to seek resolution and
pursue what is best for the student.
Meanwhile, here are the facts surrounding this situation.
In late April, a district-level administrator was asked to come to Vista Del Sur Accelerated Academy to help with a student. While the student was being escorted to the in-school detention room, the administrator perceived the student was trying to exit the campus. While trying to stop the student from leaving campus, the administrator applied an improper restraint technique by grabbing hold of the student's arm and shoulder to prevent the student from doing so. The student struggled to pull away from the administrator and the two fell to the ground. While on the ground, the administrator leaned over the student for approximately 40 seconds in an effort to calm the student. When the student stood up, the student asked and was permitted to call the student’s mother.
Phoenix Police were immediately called and met with the administrator, student, and parent. Police examined the student for injuries and no physical injuries were found. Video of the incident was captured by security cameras and turned over to the police and the parent. The District has fully cooperated with the police throughout this months-long investigation, which continues.
Soon after the incident, the District retained an outside attorney who conducted an independent review of the situation. It was determined that the actions of restraining the student did not follow district policies. Corrective action was taken with the former administrator.
Our desire is to help find the best path forward for the student, and this matter continues to be a priority for the District.