Kissimmee , Fla. – A Florida high school employee was arrested and is facing a child abuse charge after he allegedly lifted a student by his shirt and neck, and threw him to the ground.
Chris Ferguson, a 26-year-old campus monitor at Tohopekaliga High School in Kissimmee was arrested Monday afternoon after police responded to the campus on March 28.
According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) arrest report, Ferguson approached the student after he heard him saying the N-word to a classmate. Ferguson reportedly told the student he couldn’t talk like that and asked him to leave the classroom.
When the class ended the student, who was waiting in the hallway, reportedly told another student that Ferguson was “in his feelings.”
According to the police report, Ferguson overheard the student say this and asked him to repeat it. When he did, Ferguson, who is 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 350 pounds, grabbed the student by the shirt and neck and “lifted him to the ceiling” before dropping him to the ground, “leaving red marks over his neck and chest area”, the report said.
A cell phone recording of the incident was released by OCSO on Thursday afternoon. In the video Ferguson can be seen shoving the student several times after dropping him to the ground.
The student, who’s identity and race has not been released, was taken to the school nurse’s office, but the extent of his injuries has not been disclosed.
A spokesperson for Osceola County Public Schools said Ferguson had only started working in the district as a campus monitor one week prior to the March 28 incident. The spokesperson said Ferguson resigned on Monday.
The student’s mother pressed charges against Ferguson, officials said. Ferguson was arrested on a charge of child abuse without great bodily harm.
He bonded out after being booked in Osceola County jail.
Though the child’s race is unknown, parents say they don’t condone the school monitor’s actions, but they understand the sensitivity of the situation.
“It touches on a lot of the racial stuff going on these days,” said parent Phillip Long.
“I don’t think at anytime it’s appropriate to put your hands on a child, but I will say we are in a situation where racial tensions are very high.” said parent Leanne Chriswell. “You’ve got to be conscious of what you say.”