Saturday, November 6, 2010

Student with bloody eyes will likely change schools

Abdullah Fisher, 14, still has red eyes from injuries he said he sustained after a school resource officer put him in a hold at Dorothy Thurman Alternative School last Thursday.


TAMPA, Florida - A 14 year-old boy who claims a school aide put him in a restraining hold that led to his eyes bleeding will likely wind up at a new school. The white part of Abdullah Fisher's eyes were still blood red today, a week after the incident at Dorothy Thomas School.

"When Abdullah was getting choked - he told him that he couldn't breathe," said Deborah Williams, his mother. "I don't want Abdullah going back to that school."

Fisher said it started last Thursday when he "smacked" paper out of his teacher's hands. Staff called in the school's resource officer, formally called an exceptional student education aide, and a scuffle escalated, according to Fisher. That aide tried to put Fisher in a time-out room, but he fought back

"He took me up and he slammed me," Fisher said. "He had me ... in the Full Nelson move. I kept telling him I couldn't breathe."Fisher is 14, but because of a disability is on a third grade level, according to his mother. By the time he got off the bus Thursday afternoon, blood was dripping from his left eye, according to family witnesses at home.

"I had blood on my shirt," Fisher said. "The bus driver [saw] it … and asked me what happened."

Hospital paperwork shows he suffered a subconjunctival hemorrhage, which causes blood to leak from a broken vessel in the eyes. He also sustained an acute cervical strain.

By Wednesday afternoon, school administrators called Williams to set up a meeting today. A special education instructor will evaluate Fisher and his mother to see what school will fit him best. Williams said school leaders could have Fisher placed in a new school by Monday.

"Just have special ed. kids alone in the classroom; not special ed kids mixed with regular kids," Williams said. "They tease him a lot and he gets angry and fights back."The state attorney's office will investigate whether the aide should face charges. The Hillsborough County school district reassigned him away from children until the investigation is over.

"This is an aide who is trained in legal measures for restraining out of control students and that appears to be what the situation was," said Linda Cobbe, Spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Public Schools. "When the student left the school there were no visible injuries but we reported it to child protective investigations and there's an investigation ongoing."But Fisher said his eyes started bothering him while he was sitting in the time-out room.

"When they put in the room my eyes started getting puffy," he said. "When [the officer] came back and saw my eyes, he shut the door back and locked it."That doesn't sit well with his mother.

"He's just a child; he's going to want to fight back, but there's a way to restrain people," Williams said. "You don't have to choke him and shorten his breath [or] cut off his circulation."
Full Nelson Hold - A wrestling hold in which both hands are thrust under the opponent's arms from behind and then pressed against the back of the opponent's neck.