A 17-year-old student at Matanzas High School in Palm Coast, Florida, was arrested Tuesday after he pushed a teacher’s aide so hard she was thrown several feet into the air. He then slammed her head on the floor because she took his Nintendo Switch from him during class, police said. Police said that he then spat on the victim and told her that he would kill her when she came back.
The video shows the 6-foot, six-inch, 270-pound student chasing the woman, knocking her unconscious when she jumps to the ground and lands on her head. The student kicked and punched the victim repeatedly in the head and body until he was dragged away by several school employees and students.
Press release from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office:
Matanzas High School student arrested after violently assaulting paraprofessional school employee
Bunnell, FL – On February 21, 2023, FCSO school resource deputies assigned to Matanzas High School were alerted to a paraprofessional employee who had physically assaulted them on campus. Upon arrival, deputies located a female paraprofessional on the ground with severe injuries following an unprovoked assault by a male student.
The student was escorted from the area and later placed in custody. The 17-year-old student was transported to the Sheriff’s Perry Hall Detention Facility and later transferred to the Department of Juvenile Justice. The student was charged with aggravated battery with bodily harm.
The student said he was upset because the victim took his Nintendo Switch from him during class. Surveillance footage from inside the school shows the approximately 6’6” and 270 pound student walking quickly toward the victim and pushing the victim several feet, knocking her to the floor of the school and knocking her unconscious. The student is then shown kicking and punching the unconscious victim several times in the back and head. Others rushed to help the victim who was unconscious and unable to defend herself during the entire attack. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
“This student’s actions were absolutely horrific and completely uncalled for,” said Sheriff Rick Staley. “We hope the victim is able to recover mentally and physically from this incident. Fortunately, students and staff came to the victim’s aid before SRDs arrived. Our schools must be safe places – for both employees and students.”
“Creating a safe learning and work environment on our campuses is critical. Violence never is
An appropriate response,” said Flagler Schools Superintendent Kathy Mittelstadt.
A WESH-TV video report shows the student being handcuffed (raw arrest video on Facebook):
A copy of the video of the arrest was posted to Twitter:
Bunnell, Florida – On February 21, 2023, FCSO school resource deputies assigned to Matanzas High School were alerted to a paraprofessional employee who had physically assaulted them on campus. Upon arrival, deputies found a female paraprofessional on the ground in critical… https://t.co/w5CpZIFuhk pic.twitter.com/rB9EhOfGIr
— Den Dunham (@DennD68) February 22, 2023
A separate controversy arose after the attack, when newly elected conservative school board member Christy Chong objected to an LGBTQ symbol in a classroom seen in a video of a student’s arrest. The superintendent said that attention will be paid to this.
Excerpts via Flagler Live:
It was almost in one breath. Flagler County School Board member Christy Chong condemned the Matanzas High School student’s attack on a teacher’s aide there. Not a minute into his comments at the end of Tuesday’s school board workshop, he demanded that a “safe space” poster related to LGBTQ groups and anti-bullying be removed from a Matanzas classroom.
“I’ll take care of it,” Superintendent Kathy Mittelstadt said.
The moment is a startling illustration of a central contradiction in the ultra-conservative ideology represented by culture warriors like Chong, newly elected to the school board: a zero-tolerance attitude, paired with zero tolerance, toward students who are disruptive or violent in school. LGBTQ messaging aims to protect students from abuse, bullying or violence at school.
“This is a safe space for LGBTQ students and their allies,” the sign read. It is written in white letters against a rectangular rainbow, on a broad light-pink background surrounded by a white picket fence.
…The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office released video of the arrest of a 17-year-old student in Matanzas on Tuesday. The student was led out of a room and handcuffed, while the deputy followed with a body cam, the camera captured an LGBTQ gasp near the door for less than two seconds — the two seconds that Chong held among them.
“Let me try to choose my words carefully,” he said. “But inside that classroom, there was a poster on the wall pushing the LGBTQ agenda. And I want to know how much of this is going on in our schools. Like, I really do. If we can’t hang Bible verses or pray, then we shouldn’t be pushing any kind of agenda in our schools. Our kids should be educated. Going there to get and not to shove other things down your throat, especially sex.