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Grossmont Union superintendent apologizes for 'knee to neck' restraint

Valhalla High School in El Cajon, Calif. Sept. 3, 2021.
Matthew Bowler
Valhalla High School in El Cajon, Calif. Sept. 3, 2021.

The Grossman Union High School District on Wednesday released the final report from the independent investigation into a disturbing video captured at Valhalla High School in El Cajon last month.

Students with cell phone cameras videotaped a fight on Aug. 31 between two Black female students in an outdoor lunch area. The video went viral on social media and appears to show a white campus supervisor trying to break up the fight. He appears to have thrown one of the girls to the ground and put his knee to her neck to restrain her. Many people compared the incident to the George Floyd tragedy in 2020.

Grossmont Union superintendent apologizes for 'knee to neck' restraint
Listen to this story by M.G. Perez.

Grossmont Union Superintendent Theresa Kemper released a video Wednesday reviewing the findings of an investigation into the incident by Los Angeles-based law firm McCune-Harber


As a result of the investigation, Kemper said on the video "my message to the student is, I’m sorry this should not have happened."

Supt. Kemper: Update for the Valhalla Community (9/29/21)

In response to the report and the superintendent’s message, this statement was released late Thursday by the NAACP San Diego Branch:

NAACP San Diego Branch remains deeply concerned about the incident at Valhalla High School in which a campus supervisor used excessive force during an altercation between two students. Our original concern expressed on September 3 becomes even stronger with the release of an investigation by Grossmont Union High School District that found the campus supervisor violated a GUHSD regulation*. The investigator noted the violation was due in part to a lack of training. This lack of training clearly is the fault of the district. In other words, the district allowed an inadequately trained employee to supervise students at Valhalla High School. The investigator noted that numerous incidents based on race at VHS, “Valhalla High School students need to receive some form of cultural sensitivity training.”

We call on the district to review the training records of its employees and remediate any deficiencies discovered. The district must inform the public of the results of this review and the steps taken to assure its employees are properly trained to supervise and interact with students. Furthermore, the GUHSD and the Valhalla administration must implement the investigator’s recommendation. NAACP San Diego Branch stands ready to assist the district in this effort. As a community-based organization, we will hold all accountable for systemic changes that are needed in our community for the sake of our children.
— Katrina Hasan Hamilton Education Committee Chair, Brian A. Bonner 1rst Vice President

Grossmont Union Superintendent Apologizes for "Knee To Neck" Restraint

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