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Middle School Coach Caught On Video Allegedly Choking Student

In this image taken from video taken from a school security camera and provided by the Owasso Police Dept., Nex Benedict is seen walking out of the school with a security guard, Feb. 7, 2024, at Owass

A middle school coach in Ypsilanti, Michigan, was caught on surveillance video allegedly choking a student following a disagreement over a disciplinary issue. The incident, which took place at Ypsilanti Middle School, has left the student's family seeking answers and justice.

The mother of the student involved, Yolanda Ellis, expressed her outrage at the coach's actions, stating, 'I’m outraged at the fact that someone would come behind a 14-year-old child and proceed to choke him.' The incident was captured on video, showing the coach attacking the student in a hallway.

The altercation reportedly stemmed from a disciplinary issue between the student and the coach, which escalated to physical violence. Despite the confrontation, another teacher present did not intervene promptly to de-escalate the situation.

The surveillance footage shows the coach approaching the student from behind, throwing his shirt over the student's head, and yanking it around his neck. A scuffle ensued as the student attempted to break free, with the coach eventually releasing his grip. The student can be seen yelling at the coach before the coach walks away.

Attorney Jordan Vahdat, representing the student, mentioned that the family intends to send a litigation notice to the school to hold them accountable for the incident. Vahdat emphasized the need for accountability and urged the school to take appropriate action to address the trauma inflicted on the student.

In response to the incident, Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross assured parents that the matter was being treated with the utmost seriousness. The district promptly contacted social services and cooperated with law enforcement authorities upon learning of the incident.

Dr. Zachery-Ross stated, 'Such actions are absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our district.' The employee involved has been terminated and is prohibited from entering school premises or attending school activities.

The student's family has filed a police report, although charges against the coach have not been filed at this time. Both Ypsilanti Community Schools and the Ypsilanti Police Department have yet to respond to requests for comment on the matter.

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