MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - The family of a 14-year-old boy who claims he was choked and punched by a security guard at Miami Norland Senior High School in Miami Gardens is planning to sue the school district, the family's attorney announced Friday.
"Today our office will file the Notice of Intent to Sue Miami-Dade County Public Schools for allowing the misconduct and/or failing to intervene and prevent criminal actions of the employees and agents of Miami Norland Senior High School which resulted in the child abuse and battery of a minor child," attorney Jasime Rand said in a news release. "Based on the fact that Torien Austin so brazenly dragged my client down the hallway and beat him indicates that it's not the first time he physically abused a child and physically dragged their body into the office."
According to investigators, the student said in December that Austin, 26, put him in a chokehold, then slammed and punched him. Police said officers obtained surveillance video that shows Austin pulling the student down the hallway.
Austin was arrested on charges of child abuse and battery.
Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, said last month that the district was conducting a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances behind Austin's arrest.
"However, actions such as the ones this employee is accused of will neither be tolerated, nor taken lightly. As such, the district has moved to immediately terminate his employment," Gonzalez-Diego said.
The teen's father, Jeffrey Williams, said he has not been allowed to watch the video for himself yet and still has many questions.
"How did this happen to my son and why was the security guard so bold that he felt comfortable dragging my son down the hallway in front of other people?" Williams asked. "My son asked to contact me immediately after the incident because the school wanted to send him back to his scheduled classes injured. Why wasn't I immediately contacted by school administrators?"
Williams said he believes similar incidents have occurred at his son's school before.
Rand said she is concerned that the district failed to protect her client because of his race and that "there is a racial disparity in the treatment of children within the school system."
Both the teen and Austin are black.
"Child abuse has no place in our education system and we will fight to protect the rights of Mr. Williams' minor son and other children in the Miami-Dade County Public School System," she said. "We encourage any other victims to step forward."
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