Matanzas High School Special Education Student Arrested in Attack of Teacher Aide

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A 17-year-old Matanzas High School student was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery after allegedly violently assaulting a paraprofessional employee he accused of taking away a game he was playing. The employee was hospitalized.
The school district is generally barred by federal privacy rules from disclosing identifying information about the student’s status. But it is clear from the circumstances that the student is in ESE, or Exceptional Student Education.

“We do not have paraprofessionals assisting general education students,” a district spokesperson said. “They are assigned to our ESE students.” ESE, also referred to as special education, may include students who have profound emotional or behavioral difficulties, and for whom public schools often provides the most sustained and effective environment. It is inevitable that at times students will and do act out, and at times hurt the very people helping them.

Tuesday’s incident took place around 10 a.m. The student later explained that the staffer had taken his Nintendo game away, angering him.

Surveillance video of the incident, described in the student’s arrest report, shows the student running down a hallway after the paraprofessional (or teacher aide), and pushing her with such force that she was airborne for 6 to 7 feet before falling and seemingly losing consciousness. The student then kicked her, got on top of her and punched her in the body and in the back of her head “approximately 15 times.”

The student is reported to be 6’6” and 270 pounds. He was eventually restrained by a dean. While a sheriff’s deputy was typing a report, with the student in the room, the student asked when he could go back to his group home. When the deputy told him he did not know, the student kicked the deputy’s desk, causing the deputy’s computer monitor to fall. A struggle ensued, involving two deputies and an assistant principal, to control the student.

In body cam footage released by the sheriff’s office, the student, who is compliant in that sequence, is heard saying–matter-of-factly–: “I don’t want to go to jail. I have more important places to be.” As he was walking past paramedics who were tending to the paraprofessional, the student “started to spit towards” her and “made comments that when he comes back, he is going to kill her.”

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