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Community Activists Want Answers After Alleged 'Knee To The Neck' Restraint Of Student

Shane Harris speaks at Valhalla High School in El Cajon, Calif. Sept. 7, 2021.
Matthew Bowler
Shane Harris speaks at Valhalla High School in El Cajon, Calif. Sept. 7, 2021.

Community activists are demanding answers about a viral video allegedly showing a white male campus supervisor using a “knee to the neck” to restrain a Black student involved in a fight at Valhalla High School in El Cajon.

The video has splattered across social media since it was first captured on Aug. 31 in the school's outdoor lunch court.

Community Activists Want Answers After Alleged ‘Knee To The Neck’ Restraint Of Student
Listen to this story by M.G. Perez.

Since then, there have been claims of excessive force used on the female student.

"Putting her stomach to the ground and putting his knee to the back or near the back of her neck. Where does he get the logic that that kind of action between a school supervisor and a child is okay?” said Shane Harris, president of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates, at a news conference outside the school Tuesday morning. Harris said he was contacted by the student’s foster guardian, who asked for his help.

The student has not returned to school and lives in a group home operated by the county of San Diego. Currently, the county is responsible for almost 2,100 children in need of parents and guardians.

Mark Powell, president of Parents for Quality Education, said elected officials should be involved in this investigation.

“Her parents are the Board of Supervisors,” he said. “That’s who is entrusted with this young lady’s safety and they should be talking now.”

Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher knows where the “buck stops” when it comes to the safety of foster children.

“If folks that are involved in any security or law enforcement have not learned by now, you ought never put your knee on someone’s head or neck — that’s a problem," Fletcher said. "And the County will look into this issue rigorously and do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Video: Community Activists Demand Answers From Valhalla High School About Student Fight Video

Valhalla is a part of the Grossmont Union High School District. Last week, Superintendent Theresa Kemper issued a pre-produced video statement acknowledging the incident but will not say any more until an investigation is completed. Harris and the other activists said they planned to meet with Kemper by the end of this week.

The campus supervisor involved remains on paid leave from his job.