BATAVIA – A video showing a Batavia High School student being grabbed around the neck by a male employee and held in a headlock against a table while she pleads to be released is under investigation by police, the department’s deputy chief said.
Batavia Deputy Police Chief Eric Blowers said there is an “active investigation” into the video of the incident that happened at the school during a Friday lunch period and has been circulating on social media. The teenage girl in the video, who is Black, is 16, Blowers said. He was uncertain about her grade level.
“This is an active investigation,” Blowers said. “We are aware of the video. We are reviewing additional videos. Batavia High School has the area covered with video.”
Police are not identifying the man in the video, other than to confirm he is a district employee, Blowers said. Police do not know what his position is at the school, he said.
As to what precipitated the employee’s actions, Blowers said police cannot comment on that either.
Batavia District 101 spokeswoman Holly Deitchman offered scant details about the incident, but said, “In the Batavia High School cafeteria on Friday, school staff responded to an incident of assault and battery involving students.” The statement also said the video showed only “a select portion of the incident.”
The video starts with the employee holding the girl against a lunch table with his whole body while she struggles against him.
She appears to still be half-sitting on a red stool while flailing her arms.
The employee appears to use his legs to control her lower body and both forearms to grab her head and neck.
He holds a walkie talkie in his right hand where he appears to be calling for assistance, while still using his right forearm to control the girl.
As she appears to move to try to escape, the employee contains her by holding her head and neck within the crook of his left arm — a move known as a headlock.
For a few seconds, her mouth is covered by his arm, with only her eyes visible while her head is against his chest.
She wiggles against him, freeing the rest of her face.
“Let me go!” she hollers. “Let me go right now! Let me go right now! I’m going to go up and beat your ass!”
And then the video ends.
“The district is aware of a video circulating on social media depicting a select portion of the incident. We are working closely with all of the parties involved,” according to the school district’s statement.
“The District cannot release any additional information publicly, including the full video, to maintain confidentiality,” according to the statement. “Right now, our priorities are supporting those impacted, finalizing the investigation into the incident, and determining appropriate responses based on the investigation findings.”