Students Say Teacher Choked Girl During Fight; Parents Want Answers

It happened in Douglas County.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, GA. - Parents are looking for answers after a teacher was seen on cellphone video breaking up a school fight.

They claim the teacher attacked a high school girl with his hand around her neck during the fight Tuesday morning. In some parts of the video the teacher is laying flat on top of her.

The video doesn't show where the fight begins but picks up towards the end.

The Lithia Springs High School teacher is accused of choking the student while intervening in a fight between four students on Tuesday.

The teen said she told him that she couldn't breathe as he choked her. Natasha Alicia is that student's mom and said what she saw on the video is unacceptable.

The teacher in question is wearing a green shirt in the video.

"You’re a grown man. There’s no reason for you to put a little girl into a choke hold and slam her to the floor. And she’s telling you she can’t breathe. And you’re not letting up or letting her go,” she said.

Alicia took her daughter to the emergency room Wednesday morning.

Torie Copeland, who is also seen in that video, said she saw the teacher jump in.

“Literally it was all in slow motion. You see the teacher’s hand go for her neck. Go straight for her neck,” she said.

That's when Torie said she and other students stepped in to take his hands off their classmate.

"We’re like 'let go of her.' And he’s like 'no you let go.' And he’s still holding on to her," she said.

Wednesday morning 11Alive reached out to Lithia Springs High School and the Douglas County School District for a response to these allegations.

"It has come to the Douglas County School System staff's attention that a disturbing video of an altercation among students has been circulating via social media. The safety of our students is the top priority. Fighting will not be tolerated. We are aware of all students participating and will hold each individual found to be involved responsible."

As far as the teacher's response, Douglas County School System spokesperson Karen Stroud said, "If you look closely at the video you will see that at no point did the teacher injure any of the students while trying to stop the fight. One student would not stop fighting and was restrained by the teacher."

The four students involved in the fight and Torie were suspended for various lengths of time, according to the families.
 
Jennifer, Torie's mom, said the male teacher went too far and should be disciplined.
 
"I just think it’s unfair because anything could have happened to the other little girl. She could have passed out. She could have died,” Copeland said.
 
Alicia said that her daughter was defending herself. She said that the school didn't notify parents of the incident; they learned it from their children.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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