Texas School Officer on Paid Leave After Body Slamming a Student

By Giuliana Manca, Epoch Times
April 7, 2016 Updated: April 8, 2016

A Texas school officer has been placed on paid leave after body slamming a 12-year-old student.

A San Antonio Rhodes Middle School student, Janissa Valdez, was thrown to the ground on March 29 by school district officer Joshua Kehm. A video, uploaded to YouTube on April 5, captured the incident.

In an April 7 statement released by the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), the district said that upon their learning of the “very disturbing” video, an investigation was immediately launched, both by the district administration and the district’s police. 

We are not going to tolerate excessive force in our district
— Leslie Price, SAISD

The brief video shows Valdez struggling in Kehm’s grasp before the officer throws her down onto the brick pavement. Valdez remains for the most part immobile while Kehm handcuffs her. The minor appears slightly dazed, while being hauled to her feet and taken away by Kehm.

According to local news, SAISD’s Executive Director of Communications and Printing Services Leslie Price said the March 29 incident occurred after two female students “became verbally aggressive toward each other.”

Valdez received a two-day suspension after the incident and is said to have suffered from swelling on her upper right temple that has since subsided. 

Speaking of the incident, Valdez’s mother, Gloria Valdez, told News 4 San Antonio, “you could just hear where she hits the ground. And it’s nothing but concrete, cement.”

“She wasn’t moving. She was just knocked out. I wanted answers and nobody could give me answers,” continued Gloria, “I contacted the vice-principal. I talked to the officer. He did what he had to do at the moment—those were his words.”

Asked whether her daughter had been in fights before, Gloria said, “She has. I won’t lie.” 

“She had been bullied at the beginning of the school year.”

This is also not her daughter’s first altercation with the other female student, Gloria said: “Supposedly the other little girl wanted to argue with my daughter, but I honestly don’t know the reason why.”

Raul Valdez, Janissa’s father told The San Antonio Current: “It hurt me really bad that a grown man could do that to a little girl. I want to confront the officer, but thought it would be better to do everything legally,”

Raul said “I want justice for my daughter.”

“This video is very concerning, and we are working to get all of the details,” SAIDS Price said, “We certainly want to understand what all occurred. … And we are not going to tolerate excessive force in our district.”