UPDATE Wednesday, March 1st: The paraprofessional has since claimed that the report of her confiscating the student’s Nintento Switch is inaccurate.
PALM COAST – A paraprofessional at Matanzas High School was injured in an apparent attack from a student Tuesday, according to a release from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. The release states that the attack was unprovoked (though a trigger for the student’s reaction was listed) and that the victim lost consciousness over its course.
The immediate point of speculation was whether the student had a behavioral or social disorder; under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act neither Flagler Schools nor the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office are legally able to address the question. A spokesperson with the FCSO as able to confirm, however, that no paraprofessionals in Flagler Schools works with general education students.
With that information in mind, Sheriff Rick Staly was swift to weigh in on the student’s behavior. “The actions of this student are absolutely horrendous and completely uncalled for,” he said. “We hope the victim will be able to recover, both mentally and physically, from this incident. Thankfully, students and staff members came to the victim’s aid before the [school resource deputies] could arrive. Our schools should be a safe place – for both employees and students.”
The incident is said to have begun when the teacher confiscated a Nintendo Switch gaming console from the student during class. This apparently caused the student to react angrily, standing up and pushing the paraprofessional to the ground. At this point she is said to have lost consciousness, as the student commenced kicking and punching her back and head. The incident was captured on surveillance footage.
The paraprofessional was taken to AdventHealth Palm Coast for treatment for her wounds. She was discovered by responders bloodied and unconscious on the floor where the attack occurred.
The student was restrained by multiple Matanzas High School employees and taken into the office of School Resource Deputy Dennis King. He’s said to have spit at the victim on his way out the door, verbally threatening to return to kill her. According to King, the student anxiously asked what was about to happen to him, and if he could be returned to the group home where he resides. The report states he became flustered again and lashed out at King’s desk, kicking it hard enough to knock a computer monitor to the floor. From here he was taken into custody at another location with the assistance of an assistant principal and other FCSO deputies who were on-scene.
The student’s identity was disclosed in his arrest report, but will not be disseminated in this article. The FCSO released a video to Facebook of the student’s arrest, displaying his face and appearance. He is described as 17 years old, 6’6″, and 270 pounds. He was charged with aggravated battery with bodily harm, a felony. He was initially booked at the county jail before then being transferred over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. The FCSO stated that they kept the student’s name out of their news release, but maintained it in the arrest report and footage, consistent with state laws on the matter.