Abilene, TX -- A new lawsuit alleges an out-of-control Texas school resource officer ‘roughed up’ a six-year-old student, then twisting the child’s arms behind his back to lift him off the ground and carry him back to class.
Officer Barry Bond, the City of Abilene, and the Abilene Independent School District are implicated in the lawsuit brought by the parents of the then six-year-old kindergartner (referred to by the initials E.G.) and parents of a 13-year-old and 15-year-old — who all claim Bond used unnecessary force and violated their children’s rights.
In May 2014, according to the lawsuit, E.G. didn’t want to go to school in the morning; and when his mother, Vania Gonzalez, dropped him off, E.G. clung to the door in protest. A teacher’s aid suggested Gonzalez procure help from the six-foot tall, 220-pound Bond.
“As they walked toward the classroom, Officer Bond told Ms. Gonzalez that if E.G. was misbehaving like he had been ‘the other day,’ he would take him to the Refocus Room, a designated ‘time out’ room for misbehaving children, and ‘rough him up,’” states the lawsuit.
Gonzalez, according to the lawsuit, feared Bond, so despite her alarm over the officer’s statement about her son, she didn’t express any concerns out loud.
“When Officer Bond and Ms. Gonzalez arrived at the classroom, E.G. was standing in the hallway and holding on to the building door. Officer Bond immediately began yelling at E.G. and grabbed his arms, twisting them behind his back. Officer Bond then lifted E.G. off the ground by grabbing his arms, which were still twisted behind his back, and carried him into the classroom.
“Ms. Gonzalez was in shock as she watched Officer Bond take these actions. She thought she could not interfere because Officer Bond was a SRO and because she was personally scared of Officer Bond.”
Considering E.G. was six years old at the time and the lawsuit describes him being four feet tall and a scant 45 pounds, it seems reasonable Gonzalez would be frightened of a large man who felt such force against a kindergartner even remotely justified.
“Officer Bond used an arm bar maneuver on E.G. to bring him into the classroom,” the lawsuit continues. “An arm bar maneuver is a ‘pain compliance’ technique that peace officers are trained to use to force dangerous, physically resisting adults into submission” — hardly a technique necessary to coerce an upset six-year-old to go to class.
But it gets worse.
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“E.G. began squealing in pain as soon as Officer Bond grabbed him. Officer Bond, however, did not stop.” According to the legal papers, Bond forced the kindergartner into a chair, ‘slamming’ his head into the desk, hitting the corner of a chalkboard in the process, causing bleeding.
Worse still, when the incident turned ugly, the teacher simply left the room while the teacher’s aide told the students present to just “look away.” Neither attempted to stop Bond in any way. And still the struggle continued.
Bond verbally berated the young child, who was screaming in pain, while holding his head to the desk and hands behind his back. Naturally, the young boy tried to wriggle to free himself from the painful hold, but managed to crumple a lunch menu on the desk in the process. To which the irate Bond allegedly responded E.G. “would not be eating lunch that day.”
When E.G. continued to attempt to break free of Bond’s excruciating hold, the officer somehow thought the child had tried to hit him, and reportedly yelled, “never strike an officer.”
Bond eventually ordered Gonzalez to leave to go to work; but she only reluctantly complied, and then only because she feared the officer. When she voiced her concerns to the teacher’s aide, Gonzalez was told “Officer Bond’s actions were normal, and that E.G. needed to learn how to behave.”
Startlingly, when the child’s mother called the class later to check on his condition, the teacher denied the assault by Bond had even occurred. Gonzalez’ call was transferred to Bond, who said “it was normal for him to ‘rough up’ children who do not behave.”
Sadly, the six-year-old with a knot and abrasion on his head, scratches, bruising; and since that day, according to the lawsuit, “suffered from nightmares, became fearful of SROs and police officers generally, and began talking about harming himself.”
Though the school promised to remove Bond from patrol of the elementary section, Gonzalez claims that didn’t happen.
According to RT, Gonzalez and her husband asked two Abilene Police officials to review Bond’s incident report and video footage. They confirmed the arm bar is used to gain control of “intoxicated, violent, and/or uncooperative adults” — and should not have been used on the kindergartner.
Special resource officers receive no training specific to handling children or adolescents.
Officer Bond was not disciplined or forced to receive further training after the assault.