Investigation launched after football coach and student filmed exchanging blows

The incident in a Georgia classroom was caught on video. (Photo: Getty Images)
The incident in a Georgia classroom was caught on video. (Photo: Getty Images)

A football coach is under investigation after a video surfaced that appears to show him in an altercation with a student.

The incident took place at at Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, Ga., and the video, shot by a student, was posted to Instagram on Friday. In it, voices yell, “No! no!” and call for security as the coach — who is not being identified because he hasn’t been charged with a crime, according to ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta — pummels him, throws him to the floor and then keeps taking swings.

The altercation reportedly began after the student allegedly threw a chair at the coach. But witnesses said that the teen was provoked because the man was taunting him. The boy’s godmother and legal guardian, Yaquanda Lucas, told WSB-TV that the coach made a joke that referenced the boy’s mother, who is deceased.

“He had his hat on and his stocking and he said the teacher said, ‘Quit cutting up your momma’s stockings and wearing them on your head,’” said Lucas. “He was picking on him and trying to make the class laugh.”

Lucas shared medical documents with WSB-TV that show the alleged assault led to a concussion — and she said that the boy hasn’t been sleeping or eating well since the incident. She said she too was “hurt and distraught” after watching the video that’s now gone viral.

“That didn’t look like restraining him to me,” she said. “It looked like you beat my child.”

According to Lucas, the student has mental health issues that the Clayton County school district is aware of — though she said that doesn’t validate his behavior. “I don’t excuse him throwing the chair, I don’t,” she told the news station. “There’s a way to handle these kind of kids, and that’s not the way that you do it.”

The school district did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. In the meantime, when contacted by WSB-TV, a district spokesperson declined to elaborate on the incident, saying, “Since this matter remains under investigation, the district cannot comment further.”

But Lucas wasn’t the only Clayton County parent to be disgusted by the video and the coach’s reaction to the boy’s “disrespectful” conduct.

“If you feel like you need to fight children like that, then you don’t need to be in the school system,” one mom, Jaleesa Virden, told the station. “But yes, that child needs to be dealt with because he was wrong.”

“You don’t need to be working with kids if you can’t have self-control,” another mom said. “Because he’s gonna be dealing with other kids, you know, that have attitudes.”

Another mom, Kapreshia Greenwood, told the station the district should be doing its due diligence in the hiring process.

“They need to start doing further background checks on teachers and getting in tune with what’s going on on the outside too, because you don’t know who’s working in the schools,” she said. “They have to do better with being more teacher than friends.”

It remains unclear whether disciplinary action has been taken against the student or the coach.

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