A New York City junior high school student claims he was choked by the dean of his school after a verbal altercation with a substitute teacher in which the teach called him names.
“He started grabbing on me . . . and started choking on me,” 12-year-old David Hall recently told WPIX News in a videotaped interview (shown below).
Hall said Monday’s incident started in a math class at Junior High School 231 in Queens, when another student knocked a basketball out of his hands. According to Hall, the teacher of the class, a substitute, threw the ball at him, called him a name and told him to leave the classroom.
Hall said he didn’t leave the classroom and that is when the dean came to the class to remove him.
“(The dean) threw me near the garbage and hurt me,” Hall said in his interview.
Hall’s mother, Margaret Petty, said she is upset and that she never got a call from the school about the altercation.
A student recorded part of the incident with a cellphone. Portions of the video appear in the WPIX report, and Petty says there is enough evidence in the video for her to be concerned.
“He was choking my son. In the video, you can’t see what he was doing because his back was turned,” she said. “But I know he was doing something, it was a struggle.
“And regardless to what,” she added, “I feel he used excessive force because that’s a 12-year-old child.”
Petty acknowledged her son and the dean have had problems in the past, but, she said, that doesn’t excuse the behavior she believes is evident in the cellphone video.
The Department of Education sent a statement to WPIX that said, “We are investigating the matter. Safety and security of our students is always top priority.”
If that investigation turns up any wrongdoing it won’t be the first controversy for a Queens school this year.
The New York Daily News reported February 11 that a Queens family was suing the Department of Education for $10 million because a teacher from Public School 118 had allegedly struck a 10-year-old special education student after accusing the student of cheating on a test.
A week later the Daily News reported the school had announced it was planning to terminate the teacher amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse, and that a second parent had also filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging her daughter had also been abused by the same teacher.
Photo Credit: Screen shot from YouTube