Student Body Slammed: 12-Year-Old Boy Suffers Fractured Skull After Altercation With School Employee

Wednesday, February 19th 2020, 5:04 am
By: CBS News

A 12-year-old Florida boy has been diagnosed with a fractured skull, among other injuries, after an employee at his school "body slammed" him last week, local authorities said. The victim's mother was unaware of the incident for days because nobody from the school informed her.

On February 11, the unnamed victim was reported to be "acting out" during lunch while attending AMIkids Pinellas in St. Pete Beach, police said. AMIkids Pinellas is a non-profit alternative school that works with students who "who have committed a variety of non-violent offenses and are involved with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice," according to their website.

A behavioral interventionist "redirected the student to the 'Room of Opportunity,' where a physical altercation transpired," reported police. The boy was "body slammed" by an employee during the altercation, according to arrest affidavits provided to CBS News by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. 

Jarvis Delon West, a behavioral interventionist, was arrested Monday and charged with failure to report child neglect and neglect of a child resulting in great bodily harm, the Pinellas Park Police Department said in a statement. According to police, the 28-year-old was charged because he was the supervisor the day of the alleged incident, but West is not the person who injured the child.

"He was made aware of the fact that force was used against the student, that the student was in obvious medical duress, and failed to provide medical attention or to report abuse or neglect as required by state statute," police said in the statement.

As a result of the altercation, the student began to vomit and is believed to have lost consciousness "on more than one occasion," according to the police department. 

The student was under "adult supervision" for approximately two hours until he was escorted to the school bus, police said. West, who was on the bus with him, gave the child a garbage can in case he threw up again, and told the driver to get water for the student at a different child's house. Police noted it is "not normal protocol" for a behavioral interventionist to ride on the bus with the students. The student was dropped off at his home, instead of his bus stop,  but West did not make contact with the alleged victim's mother, according to the police statement and affidavits.

The child's mother was "unaware of the incident," but kept her son home from school the following day believing he had come down with the flu. On Thursday, she was "concerned" that he was not improving and took him to a local children's hospital, police said.

Hospital staff discovered he had suffered a fractured skull, two subdural hematomas and a brain bleed —  all believed to be a result of the alleged incident, reported police. 

The 300-pound employee who allegedly injured the child said he attempted to "take the student down" using an "arm-bar," but the 100-pound boy ended up being slammed on his head in the incident. 

All staff identified by authorities so far as having been involved in the incident were "immediately" placed on suspension with no pay, Joseph Gallina, a spokesperson for AMIkids Inc., told CBS News. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the young man and his family during his time of recovery," said Gallina in a statement. "AMIkids Pinellas does not tolerate any behaviors that could cause harm to our students, as our top priority is the safety of our kids, our team and this community. In addition to fully cooperating with the authorities, we are also conducting an internal investigation of this matter."

He added that once the organization completes their own internal investigation and police conclude theirs, AMIkids will "immediately review a multitude of avenues in partnership with our local and state partners."

Police say more arrests are expected as the investigation is ongoing.

Dontae Antonio Thomas is listed as a co-defendant on the arrest affidavits provided by the sheriff's office. Police told CBS News that the "subject remains outstanding and charges are pending against him." 

First published on February 18, 2020 / 6:03 PM

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