MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A YouTube video shows a Champlin Park High School teacher restraining a Somali student after the student had been in a fight with a classmate.
Now members of the Somali community are questioning how the school district handled the situation — and are saying the teacher went too far.
District officials said the teacher was trying to break up a fight and did what was necessary to keep students save.
Both sides want a full investigation.
The video starts with a fight between a white student and a Somali student before a teacher jumps in.
“He was being bullied and beat up, and then turned around and then the teacher ends up putting him in the headlock, going against state law on restraining kids,” Al Flowers said.
The group of parents and concerned citizens met with district officials, who cited data practice laws as a reason for not talking specifics about the incident.
The district launched an investigation into the matter, but the groups said that’s not enough.
“We want an independent investigation,” community spokesperson Mohamed Farah said. “And terminate the teacher that was involved.”
The district did not say if the students involved in the fight were disciplined. The uncle of the Somali student said his nephew was given a three weeks’ suspension, while the other student was suspended for three days. Family said the Somali student was singled out.
“Based on our investigation, we did not see that this is a racial issue — that was not brought up as part of the investigation,” district spokeswoman Mary Olson said.
Olson said the superintendent will consider the community’s request for an independent investigation at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
The teacher in question is still employed.
The mother of the Somali student involved in the fight said her son was allowed back in school on Tuesday, but did not go because he fears for his safety.
Minnesota state law states that an unreasonable interference with a child’s breathing cannot be considered “reasonable force.”
But that will be up to investigators to decide.
The Council on American Islamic Relations has asked the U.S. Department of Education to conduct an open and independent investigation into the matter.