PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — A 12-year-old boy suffered a skull fracture, brain bleed and two subdural hematomas after a run-in with a school employee on Thursday, and police say no one reported it to them or the boy's mother.
Pinellas Park Police say the student was injured after a "physical altercation" with a behavioral interventionist (BI) at AMIkids, which is a nonprofit that tries to help at-risk youth. According to police, the boy was said to be "acting out" during lunch on February 11 and the BI removed him to the "Room of Opportunity."
According to police, the BI, who is approximately 5'8" and weighs 300, said he attempted to take the 100-pound student down using an "arm-bar" but the student ended up being slammed on his head. Police say it was more like a body slam.
After the altercation, the student started to vomit and lose consciousness. Police believe the child lost consciousness multiple times.
“Here we have a 300 pound man, grown man with a 12-year-old child that weighs 100 pounds,”said Capt. Adam Geissenberger, the Pinellas Park Police Department Public Information officer. “That has to be taken into consideration any time you’re going to put hands on somebody.”
The student was then left undisturbed but supervised for 90 minutes before another BI took him to a conference room, where police say officials watched him for another 30 minutes.
Police say the student was then taken to his bus by the BI, who rode the bus with him even though it's not standard protocol. The BI directed the driver to stop at another student's home to get water for the victim, according to police. They say the BI then had the driver pass the injured student's bus stop and instead drop him off directly at home.
Police say the BI released the student without contacting his mother.
The following day, police say the child was kept home by his mother, who thought he had the flu. On February 13, police say the mother, still unaware of the incident that happened at school, took her son to All Children's Hospital because she was worried that he wasn't getting better.
Police say an evaluation at the hospital revealed the fractured skull, subdural hematomas and brain bleed. Police believe all the injuries came from the confrontation at the school.
On Monday, authorities arrested 28-year-old Jarvis West, a supervisor at AMIkids, for failure to report child neglect and neglect of a child resulting in great bodily harm. Police say West was the supervisor of the day, knew force was used, knew the student was in medical duress and failed to provide medical attention or report the abuse.
“They waited two hours before they put this child on a school bus. What kind of damage occurred to the child, I don’t know [because] I’m not a medical professional but for two hours this child suffered and Mr. West did nothing to provide him with medical aid. Nothing,” said Geissenberger.
West was booked into the Pinellas County Jail and has already bonded out. We tried talking to West at his Pinellas Park home but no one came to the door.
“Everybody’s got to be held responsible for their actions no matter what,” said Bill Underhill, a neighbor who lives next door to West.
He says he’s deeply concerned by the accusations.
“He should’ve called 911 and he should have gotten an ambulance or paramedics there to make sure he was okay. It looks like he’s going to face some serious charges because he didn’t uphold his part of the deal,” Underhill said.
The police department said they expect to make more arrests in the on-going investigation.
We reached out to AMIkids in Pinellas County about the abuse. They sent a statement:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the young man and his family during his time of recovery. When we were notified by the authorities as to the extent of this incident, we took immediate disciplinary action. AMIkids Pinellas does not tolerate any behaviors that could cause harm to our students, as our top priority is the safety of our kids, our team and this community. In addition to fully cooperating with the authorities, we are also conducting an internal investigation of this matter.