ONLY ON 3: Student suspended after altercation with teacher caught on camera
After this confrontation between a middle school student and a teacher, the student was expelled for a year. But a hearing Thursday changed the teen's future.
UPDATE: A local 8th grader will have to finish the school year taking online classes after a confrontation with a teacher.
The school system initially expelled the student one year, per Hamilton County's zero tolerance policy. But the student and his father met with the Hamilton County Board of Education Thursday morning to appeal that suspension and now it has been reduced.
"Instead of him being kicked out for 365 days, now he gets to start virtual schooling, they're letting him take his exams for this last semester. And Mr. McDade I felt was very, very fair," Lakeef Quinn said.
Lakeef Quinn said he's happy with how Thursday's appeal went with Assistant Supt. Lee McDade. In the fall, Quinn's 14-year-old son will get to start school at Ooltewah High School.
Quinn said it all started when his son saw the teacher, who Channel 3 won't name, grab his brother by the collar. The teen said the teacher "charged at him" and "spit at him." But the teacher told a different story. According to the police report, he said "things escalated quickly" but denied touching either boy or acting in any aggressive manner. He said the teen "shoved him backwards" but that he "did not respond."
With only 40 seconds caught on cell phone camera, it remains a case of he-said, he-said. McDade said it's still an open investigation regarding the teacher. He wouldn't comment further but said the appeal hearing was "very positive."
"I mean, as long as he learns from this, I'm happy," Quinn said. "He's not dead and he can learn from his mistakes so I'm happy as a parent."
Quinn said he still wants to press charges for simple assault.
PREVIOUS STORY: Collegedale Police are investigating a father's claim that a teacher assaulted his 14-year-old son, Wednesday.
Cell phone video shows the altercation between an Ooltewah Middle School teacher and a 14-year-old student on school grounds. The video was taken by other students. Channel 3 has blurred the faces of all the teens seen in the video, because they are underage.
The video shows the teacher swing his hand up and across the teens face. The teen then pushing back and the teacher swinging his hand again. Moments later the teacher is seen making physical contact with the student.
"My son pushes him back out of his face and then he comes up again and swings at his face and it looks like he spits on my son," said Father Lakeef Quinn.
When asked how that made him feel, Quinn said, "Terrible, I feel bad for my boys but I'm more disappointed in Ootlewah Middle School's system."
Quinn tells Channel 3 the confrontation started off camera when his youngest son saw the teacher grab his brother by the collar. The teen says he got off the bus to intervene because the teacher was being aggressive.
"I thought that he was in danger," said the 14-year-old. "I thought my brother was going to get hit."
The 8th grader claims the teacher then grabbed his shirt collar, leading him and his brother to the corner seen on the video.
"I really thought he was going to hit me so I acted in self defense," said the 14-year-old. "I pushed him back."
The video only captures about 40 seconds of the altercation. Quinn tells us his son has had a difficult time adjusting to life at Ootlewah Middle School.
The teen transferred after his mother was found murdered in Polk County. Her body was found 2 years ago in a Cherokee National Forest Ravine, suffering from multiple blunt force trauma and asphyxiation.
"I don't feel any kid should be treated that way especially a 14-year old in 8th grader by a teacher and bible teacher, that's what disappoints me," said Quinn.
According to Hamilton County School's Website the teacher seen in the video has a Master of Education in Community Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. He teaches Related Arts-Bible History.
Collegedale Police are investigating the incident. Officers say they're still interviewing witnesses. After seeing the video, Ootlewah Middle School Officials suspended the 14-year old. School officials say the teacher has not been charged or suspended pending the investigation.
Hamilton County School's HR Department heads confirmed right now they are not internally investigating or reviewing any of the teacher's actions seen in the video.
"I just felt like he was bullying very aggressive," said Quinn. "The video speaks for itself you can clearly see a grown man swing at my son's face."
The teens family has scheduled a Zero Tolerance Appeal Hearing with the School Board Thursday, March 12.
School officials refused to talk with Channel 3 about the incident captured on video, saying they needed to have the appeal hearing first.
Collegedale Police tell Channel 3 after their investigation is complete, it will be up to the judge whether or not any charges are filed against the teacher.