A Rhode Island assistant principal has been placed on leave after he appeared to pin a 15-year-old student to the floor.
Thomas E. Bacon, an assistant principal at Central High School, can be seen in the video with a male student underneath him as someone shouts, “Tell him to get off!”
Bacon told the Providence Journal that he was trying to escort 15-year-old Amare Pemberton out of the cafeteria for cutting in line when the student became combative.
“I tried to gently guide him, he then dropped his bag and raised his clenched fists,” Bacon said, claiming that another teacher, Michael Scott, had to get involved. According to the police report, Bacon claimed that Pemberton “began throwing punches and elbows toward Mr. Scott and myself and yelling, ‘Touch me again boy… you’ll be face down… I’ll clock you.’”
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But Jennifer Pemberton, Amare’s mother, said that Bacon kept grabbing hold of Amare’s arm.
“The next thing you know, [Bacon] tackled him,” she said. “He was choking my son. He put a knee on my son’s chest. In the video, everyone can see my son wasn’t being combative.”
Amare has since been charged with two counts of simply assault, while Bacon is not facing any charges.
“They charged my son with simple assault and he shouldn’t be charged,” Jennifer Pemberton said. “I didn’t expect my son to get assaulted when I sent him to school Monday. Now you’re telling me that he was attacked by someone who was supposed to be there to help him?”
The school has since released a statement on the incident, saying, “Public Schools were alarmed and dismayed by the physical altercation in the cafeteria at Central High School on Monday involving a student and an assistant principal,’ it read. ‘The district immediately contacted the police and put the assistant principal on administrative leave, pending a personnel review. Additionally, the school district has explicitly requested that police investigate the incident in its entirety.”