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NAACP decries cafeteria incident at Howard County HS that saw adults punch and pin alleged unruly student to the floor

The superintendent stated the school resource officer and staff involved won't be assigned to any school while the investigation is ongoing.

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — A recently surfaced video at Howard County High School shows the moments three school officials restrained a student on a cafeteria floor - one of them repeatedly punching his head - after the student allegedly assaulted other students.

Now, a local NAACP chapter is demanding an investigation into the incident. They said the student has been criminally charged following the alleged assault.

According to the NAACP, the incident caught on camera happened on Dec. 2, 2021. In the brief one-minute video, a student was restrained to the ground in front of other students by three administrators. The video also shows one of the employees punching and hitting the student.

In a statement released to WUSA9 by Howard County Public Schools on Dec. 2, school officials said the student reportedly assaulted multiple other students in the cafeteria that day, and a Howard County Public School security guard and school administrator intervened and helped the school Student Resource Officer subdue the student.

The school system said there were no weapons involved and no reported injuries in the incident.

Credit: WUSA9
Rev. Larry Walker, president of the African American Community Roundtable, calls for the firing of an adult male who is seen on video punching a Howard County high school student after the student was restrained by three men in response to an alleged assault by the student.

WATCH FULL VIDEO HERE:

Warning: the content of the video below contains disturbing footage showing three school officials restraining a student on a cafeteria floor. Viewer digression is advised.

NAACP'S DEMANDS

The NAACP in collaboration with other civil rights groups wants to hold the HCPSS employee who punched and hit the student accountable. They are demanding charges be filed against the employee they say assaulted the student. 

"It has been brought to our attention that criminal charges have been filed against the child who was attacked by an adult HCPSS employee but no charges have been filed against the adult," said Willie Flowers, president of the NAACP Maryland State Conference. 

"We have demanded an investigation into the incident but we never thought that a student would be charged for a crime when the student was the one on the ground being assaulted by three male adults and punched in the head by one of them. It sends a terrible message to the community that children will be abused and the traumatizing acts of an adult employee will be overlooked."

HCPSS RESPONSE

HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano sent out a letter to parents and staff after the NAACP news conference on Thursday, stating that the school resource officer and staff involved won't be assigned to any school while the investigation is ongoing:

"I am writing to you after reviewing the details of an incident that occurred at Howard High School, and to address speculation regarding the incident. On Thursday, Dec. 3 [sic], a student was involved in an altercation during which administration and security staff had to intervene. We are aware of rumors and conversations related to this incident that have circulated throughout our community, and many people are understandably upset. We also are aware that a video of the incident has circulated on social media.

"First, I want to assure our students, staff and community that no weapon was involved at any point during the altercation. Second, I want you to know that HCPSS staff are working with the Howard County Police Department (HCPD) to investigate the incident and review video footage from the school. 

"Consistent with our Memorandum of Understanding with HCPD and standard HCPSS procedures, the school resource officer and HCPSS staff involved will not be assigned to any school while the investigation is ongoing. I ask all community members for your patience and to allow the investigation by HCPSS and HCPD to be completed, at which time an update will be provided, as appropriate.

"Maintaining a safe environment in our schools is of utmost importance and remains the primary focus of our efforts. I appreciate the cooperation of students, families, staff and community agencies as we work to investigate and respond to yesterday’s events. I want to assure all of our students and families that student services staff are available at every school to provide necessary supports to any students who need assistance," Martirano wrote. 

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