GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – A local family is accusing a middle school employee of putting a seventh grader in a chokehold after a fight in the middle school cafeteria.
“I was in a headlock for like a minute,” said 13-year-old Ro-shon Ballard, of Garfield Heights.
Students recorded the incident inside Garfield Heights Middle School on Thursday.
“I don’t remember everything, but I remember my friends and my cousin were right there. Then I blacked out,” said Ballard.
According to Ballard, it happened after he and another student started arguing during lunch.
“That’s when we got up and we were about to fight when they got the security guard. Got him, but he left and was out of the cafeteria,” said Ballard.
That’s when the assistant principal stepped in.
Video shows the employee restraining Ballard in a chokehold.
His mother Robbin said she was notified shortly after.
“The assistant principal called me to tell me there was an altercation at the school. No punches were thrown, an argument and almost a fight,” said Robbin.
But according to Robbin, the staff member left something out.
“I never found out about the headlock until social media. I was sitting in the car scrolling and there was the video,” said Robbin.
Robbin said she met with the school district Friday afternoon.
“There was no resolution, the principal was apologetic. The superintendent didn’t want to be bothered. Nothing. Basically give us your phone number and we’ll call you when we are free,” said Robbin.
The Garfield Heights City School District issued a statement:
“A staff member has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, which is currently underway, to obtain information and determine involvement in a student altercation in the cafeteria at Garfield Heights Middle School on Thursday, May 4th. The investigation to gather statements, conduct interviews and review eyewitness accounts of the altercation and those involved will continue through the weekend until the District can appropriately identify participants and properly determine next steps.”
Ballard said his finger was broken as a result of the incident and must wear a cast for the next two months. His mother says he will not return to school until there is a resolution.