A fight captured on a cell phone video at Kingstree Senior High School has stirred up an investigation into the way one school employee helped break up the altercation.
According to a police report, the May 3 incident occurred when a fight broke out between two female students at the East Campus of the high school. The cell phone video, seen on KingstreeNews.com, has led to one parent pressing for charges to be filed.
According to the incident report, the man in the video is coach Mack Henry Burgess.
The student’s mother filed an incident report with Kingstree police against Burgess, claiming in the police report, that he held her 15-yr-old daughter “so tightly that the juvenile lost consciousness and went limp.”
"My daughter was in a choke hold to the point where her feet were off the ground and she was reaching for her neck for them to turn her loose," mother Yalonda Nesmith, said.
According to the police report, the investigating officer who watched this video, reported that there was probable cause to arrest Burgess, and Williamsburg County magistrate judge agreed.
However, the police report states a few hours later the judge decided rather than arrest Burgess, he would issue a Courtesy Summons, which means there will be a hearing on the case to hear from both sides.
Official with Williamsburg County School District and Kingstree Police said the investigation is ongoing.
"I really wouldn't want that to be done to my child," Kingstree High parent, Sandretta Matthews, said. "There's a right and wrong way to do things. And they need to school these people on the right and wrong way to address the situation."
"Sometimes when people fighting, you never know what's going to happen," Jannie McCrea, who was picking up her grandchild, said. "You're just trying to break them up and keep them from hurting one another. And sometimes you may catch them too tight not realizing what you're doing."
According to public relations officer Bonnie King, Williamsburg County School District released the following statement in regards to the incident:
“We have several programs in place to assist our students in resolving conflicts without physical contact. Our Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Specialists, Intervention Specialists, Mental Health Counselors (on-site), and Guidance Counselors work closely with students to address numerous issues throughout the year to include conflict resolution.
Annually, counselors and administrators participate in Crisis Non-violence Technique Training that provides them with the knowledge needed during physical altercations.
The district is investigating this incident and working cooperatively with local authorities.”
Kingstree's police chief says the judge has the ultimate authority to decide whether an arrest is made.