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Video of Valhalla High student pinned to ground raises community concerns

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Posted at 10:31 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-04 09:14:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A viral video has put Valhalla High School at the center of controversy.

The video shows a fight between two students, ending with an administrators knee on the neck of a student. The countless videos and photos are sweeping across social media, grabbing attention from district officials and parents, as well as local anti-violence advocates.

"After the chiefs association ends the corrupted restraint," shares Tasha Williamson, "we now have another person who is supposed to be there to support and honor and protect our children, putting their knee on the neck of one of our children."

Williamson, a community advocate, describes the scene that played out on Tuesday at Valhalla High School. She shows 10News multiple videos that were sent to her of the incident, which shows two black female students from Valhalla High get into a fight.

The video then shows a white Campus Supervisor intervene. A second teacher then steps in to remove one of the girls. The Campus Supervisor can be seen struggling with the other student who is resisting.

That is when he is seen, putting his knee on her neck.

"When we take the leg as the strongest part of the human body, has tremendous strength, but you also have the weight of the body and to have that pressure on the neck it can cause some serious issues," shares retired police officer Kevin LaChappelle, "So I think people need to be trained better to know what they should be doing and what they need to be careful of."

The Superintendent of Grossmont Union High School District released a video, which promises transparency into what led up to the fight and the Campus Supervisor's response.

In light of investigations, the Campus Supervisor has been placed on administrative leave.

"There has to be training across the county on how to safely intervene in school fights and understanding what can happen," share Williamson.

Williamson, from experience in training at other schools, says she believes the proper way to diffuse the situation is by calmly asking the aggressors to relax, and by not touching them.

"People who are physically fighting don't want to be touched they are on edge," explains Williamson, "They will turn around they will think that you are coming for them as well, they are in survival mode."

However, LaChapelle says that sometimes force is needed, especially in emotional situations where the aggressor is resisting.

His concern lies with training, "There is quite a difference in training from school security to law enforcement that has a lengthy academy and in service training," shares LaChapelle, "constantly learning from things like this to come up with strategies and tactics."

While law enforcement investigates, those like Tasha Williamson, just want answers, "I am not condoning violence, but also we have restorative justice county wide in these schools, and I did not see that here."

Williamson says she believes race does play a factor in how this incident played out. According to school district policy, employees are prohibited from using any restraints that impair a student's breathing.