Champlin Park High School teacher headlocks Somali student [VIDEOS]
Hall (right) says he was simply trying to break up a fight, but Somali activists and the student's mother believe he crossed a line.
Champlin Park High School industrial arts teacher Joe Hall is in hot water after video of him headlocking a Somali student on May 3 made its way onto YouTube.
The footage, visible below the jump, has prompted calls for Hall's termination from Somali activists and the student's mother, but the school district hasn't taken any disciplinary action thus far.
One video posted to YouTube by JPath96 appears to show the beginnings of a classroom fight between a white student and the Somali student. Hall quickly swoops in to break things up:
The second video shows Hall subduing and headlocking the Somali student while asking him, "Are you done?" Hall releases him, but the student cocks his fist as though he's going to punch Hall in the face. Hall then tackles him onto a desk and says, "I'm not letting you go" while the student filming the incident can be heard whimpering:
According to numerous reports, the 14-year-old Somali student shown in the videos was arrested and suspended following the incident.
In a Pioneer Press report, Anoka-Hennepin School District spokesperson Mary Olson acknowledged "teachers typically do not restrain students," but said that "if they do, it's only if it's absolutely necessary."
"In this situation, the teacher believed there was a significant risk of injury to himself and others in the classroom," Olson added.
But Lori Saroya, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, doesn't buy it.
"It seems like [Hall] was using excessive force on a small kid," Saroya is quoted as saying in the PiPress report. "It's not how you would expect a teacher to react to a fight, which is why we want the [federal education department] to look into what happened here."
Indeed, as the Star Tribune writes, "Outraged Somali community members have demanded an independent investigation" of the incident, but Olson said the school district doesn't regard the altercation as being racially motivated in any way.
The Strib reached Hall for comment last Friday. He said he was simply "breaking up the fight" to ensure "student safety and security."
As of last night, the school district was still considering whether to seek an outside investigation of the incident. In the meantime, Hall reportedly continues to teach at Champlin Park.
But the Somali student shown in the videos hasn't returned.
"My son is at home, thinking he's expelled," the student's mother told the Strib. "He's afraid to come to school."
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