ANTIOCH (KPIX) — The Antioch Unified School District held a special meeting Thursday to discuss use of force in response to the recent arrest of a student following a fight at Antioch High.
The Antioch School Board Thursday night tried to tackle its campus use of force policy following the fight last Friday. Video of the fight’s aftermath showing one of the young men involved being pinned on to the ground by security guards was posted on social media.READ MORE: Deputies Arrest 20-Year-Old Man Who Strangled Woman at Millbrae Hotel
However, the meeting was quickly derailed during public comments by criticism of district officials.
While School Board President Ellie Householder called the meeting to discuss the district’s use of force policy, the first two hours were filled with the reading public comments attacking Householder.
One comment after another called for Householder to step down, with some accusing her of using race to divide the community. The string of comments prompted her to ask for a break.
But after the break, all 60 pages of public comment criticizing Householder and Superintendent Stephanie Anello were read.
According to Antioch High School principal Louie Rocha, a student threatened to do harm to an entire class, attacked another student and became physical with staff despite repeated attempts to deescalate the situation.
Householder said one thing was clear to her watching the video posted on social media.READ MORE: UPDATE: Thousands Forced To Flee Fawn Fire; 'I See My Life Gone'; Arson Suspected As Blaze Burns Homes
“Towards the end of the video, the young man is pulled down by his hair. And that was the sticking point for me. What led up to this?” she asked.
The parents KPIX talked with at Antioch High were just as divided as the public comments on whether the use of force was appropriate.
“Anything to be done to protect our children in the school setting and in the classroom. You never know,” said parent Andrew Josey.
“I wouldn’t want anybody to put their hands on my child,” added another concerned parent.
The City of Antioch was awarded a federal grant which would’ve provided school resource officers on campus to handle these situations. After a second meeting on the issue, the city council voted to reject the grant.
“I don’t think it’s useful to speculate about what could’ve been. But what I’m more interested in doing is how we are going to move forward, because this conversation is long overdue,” said HouseholderMORE NEWS: Berkeley Police Searching For Suspect Who Attacked Cal Student
In the end, the board voted 4-1 to table the issue until the district has time to gather additional information regarding its current policy on use of force. There is also an ongoing investigation looking into what transpired during the incident at Antioch High.