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Group calls for changes after restraint incident at Valhalla High School

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Posted at 1:04 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 11:37:24-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) -- A local civil rights group called for the firing of a campus supervisor following an incident that occurred on the campus of Valhalla High School in El Cajon.

In a video widely circulated on social media, a campus supervisor is seen breaking up a fight between two female students. The video ends with the supervisor putting his knee on the neck of one of the girls.

During a Tuesday news conference outside of the school on Hillsdale Road, civil rights advocate Shane Harris, Bishop Cornelius Bowser, former San Diego County Board of Education member Mark Powell, and others spoke out over the Aug. 31 incident.

The group collectively called for the campus supervisor involved in the incident to be fired. They also asked that a meeting be held between the girl’s guardian, Valhalla High’s principal, and the Grossmont Union High School District superintendent.

The girl is in foster care, and her guardian -- Ann Ford -- was supposed to speak on Tuesday but was not present.

Harris said the girl has been retraumatized by the incident and its aftermath, and she has not yet returned to school.

“There needs to be state law that comes out of this, ensuring that no other young lady or no other young man ever has to face the fear of being George Floyd number 2,” Harris said.

Harris’ group, the People’s Associated of Justice Advocates, wants a meeting to understand current de-escalation policies in the Grossmont Union High School District.

Harris also pledged to call on California schools Superintendent Tony Thurman to do more for foster kids, particularly those of color, in state schools.

Additionally, Harris wants a policy to ban the knee-on-neck practice at schools statewide.

For its part, the school district has promised transparency.

The campus supervisor involved in the incident was placed on leave amid an investigation.

Harris on Tuesday said the school’s principal, nor the district superintendent have met with the girl’s guardian, but that is expected to happen this week.

Harris said he would be releasing more video and photos of the incident.

Powell, who runs the nonprofit Parents for Quality Education, called on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to respond to the issue.