A school security guard is facing charges after he appeared to grab and lift a student by his neck (video below).
Joseph Golden III, 50, is facing simple assault charges in Pennsylvania after surveillance video surfaced of him confronting a student and lifting him by his neck, according to WTAE. Golden worked as a behavioral specialist at the school, which specializes in students who have academic or behavior issues.
Golden was charged by the local police department May 9 and was removed from the school shortly after the incident.
The boy, 13, told the school's principal after the incident that he was not hurt and did not require additional medical treatment.
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"The kid didn't go to the hospital. He didn't go to the doctors. He told the principal he wasn't hurt. This isn't a simple assault," said Patrick Thomassey, Golden's attorney. "We have to have some discipline in school. It's why we have these officers, that's their job, to maintain order."
Thomassey said Golden had confronted the student several times as the student attempted to ditch class, with Golden escorting the student back to the classroom each time. It was not immediately clear what ultimately led to the alleged assault.
Thomassey also mentioned the difficult position Golden was put in with the student since the student was clearly unresponsive to Golden's authority.
"Then finally the kids says, 'I'm going to do what I want,'" Thomassey said.
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Golden was a district employee for eight years and worked at the school since 2012, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Investigators say they received a tip on their ChildLine abuse hotline regarding the incident between the student and Golden.
Surveillance video shows Golden grabbing the student by the "upper shoulder and throat area" and carrying him several feet down the hallway. Golden also appears to shove the student against the wall during the confrontation and the student's arms reach out against Golden.
"It was a terrible incident. We’re very upset about it," Woodland Hills Superintendent Alan Johnson told WTAE after the charges were announced. "We have begun the process to terminate the employee. He was removed immediately from the school."
According to Golden's attorney, Golden remains suspended from school security work until further notice. Golden remains free while he faces the simple assault charge as well as endangering the welfare of a child, according to KDKA. Golden will return to court for the incident that occurred April 12.