SEATTLE - A Seattle Mother said she’s outraged that a Seattle Public Schools security guard went too far in trying to control her son.
Surveillance video from Washington Middle School shows the moment when a guard slammed her son to the ground. Diana Lightner shared the video with KIRO 7 and decided to tell her story for several different reasons.
Lightner did admit that her son had discipline problems, and when the schools called her back on February 16, she did wonder if he had hurt himself. After obtaining the surveillance video and watching it, she had a totally new perspective.
“Honestly as a single mom you deal with so many things that come at you in a given week, I've had a lot of heartbreak in my life....but my kid comes first,” Lightner said.
Lightner says her son - even with behavioral problems - should never have been treated the way he was by the security guard. The video shows the boy being manhandled and slammed to the ground. It comes after he is seen tearing down some streamers from the ceiling. The incident caught on camera happened after school staff had taken her son's phone and he appeared to be acting out.
Lightner says there is a moment off screen where some of the action can’t be seen but after that the video shows exactly what happened.
“He was pushed into a doorway where nothing could be seen and then thrown to the ground,” she said.
Lightner says her son ended up at Harborview Medical center where doctors expressed concern over the level of his injures.
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“I met with a social worker there that called the police she and the doctor that worked with him were both very surprised at the amount of force that was used against a 12-year-old kid,” she said.
Seattle Public Schools issued a statement to KIRO 7 regarding the incident.
"We are aware of the incident and investigating whether proper procedures were followed. Because it is under investigation, we are limited in commenting further or providing more specifics at this time," spokeswoman Kim Schmanke wrote.
Lightner said the school district ultimately granted her family's transfer request for her son, but she still decided to go public with the video.
“Honestly, after I watched that video one of the things I thought is what if that guy had a gun?” she said.
Lightner admits the entire incident forced her to confront tough feelings on how students and school security interact.
“All I could think was this guy didn't have the impulse control to not hurt my kid. What if he was armed or what if my kid could have reached for that gun? So that really got me thinking and that's what made me share it with anyone,” Lightner said.
Lightner said she’s talking about the incident and sharing the video because she wants to spur change. She wonders if enough is being done to teach staff how to de-escalate incidents.
“In the video, it's very clear my son was held by him, pushed into a wall and then thrown to the ground...I don't want this to happen to another kid,” she said.
Lightner did say that her son has recovered and is doing well at another school.
Seattle Public Schools gave no information on the working status of the security guard.
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