Teacher uses ‘appropriate’ physical restraints, superintendent determines

DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Members of the Danbury School District’s Central Office team determined a staff member “acted appropriately,” following an investigation into reports of an alleged assault of a student.

News 8 received a Report-It Wednesday evening from a Danbury local, Kimberly Dasilva, that described an altercation between two students that turned physical, with a quick video of the incident attached. Dasilva says her 15 year-old-son Brandon is the boy in the video, and was put into a choke-hold by a teacher. Brandon’s siblings are seen in the video, his sister heard shouting, “Let go of my brother!”

Later on Wednesday night, the Superintendent of Danbury Public Schools, Dr. Sal Pascarella, reached out to News 8 with the following statement:

My Central Office team was immediately informed of the events in the DHS cafeteria to which you refer. With that team, I have reviewed video footage of the events as recorded by a student, and ordered a full investigation into the circumstances. This investigation has been completed following interviews and statements of those involved. It is the District’s conclusion that all staff, as well as the School Resource Officers involved on the scene, acted swiftly and appropriately under the circumstances to stop this act of violence between multiple students, and to prevent any further injuries to the students involved and to those gathered in the immediate area. While the video does show a staff member trying to take initial control of the aggressor by holding him above the shoulders, the continuing seconds of footage and subsequent statements establish that the staff member immediately moved to a different restraint position for safety reasons. The School Resource Officers were also involved in restraining the aggressor as well as the other students involved. The District takes extremely seriously its response to violence between students that may occur in our schools as well as its important obligation to insure the safety of all students if staff are required to intervene in violent situations.

Dasilva told News 8 the altercation started after another boy sent harassing messages via social media to Brandon and her 14 year old daughter. Brandon confronted him in the cafeteria, and that’s when Dasilva says her older son stepped in to hold Brandon back. That’s when the teacher can be seen approaching Brandon from behind and wrapping his arm around his neck. Other staff and resource officers can also be seen restraining him.

“If somebody’s got me by my neck and then these other people are coming at me, I’m gonna do my best to fight. That boy is 130 pounds. All those guys are big. You don’t need 4, 5 guys on a 15 year old,” said Dasilva.

Danbury Police have charged Brandon with creating a public disturbance. He was suspended for 10 days, his sister for five, and his brother for two. Dasilva believes her kids are taking the heat for a situation gone terribly wrong, and wants the teacher to be disciplined.

“At least suspend him for one or two days. I’m not trying to get the guy in a whole lotta trouble, I just want him to know that he can’t go around choking kids,” said Dasilva.

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