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Kern High School District faces backlash from parents after social media video of fight

"Then they put my son on the ground.”
Posted: 3:29 PM, Feb 24, 2022
Updated: 2022-02-24 22:31:02-05
Kern High School District

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A video on social media of Kern High School District police officers tackling a student has caused students, parents, and community members to call for an investigation into the district’s police department about the use of force against kids in Kern County schools.

The mother of the student in the video you’re about to see said her son is traumatized.

She said regardless of race, no adult should handle a kid like KHSD officers handled her son.

She said he wanted to be a police officer but after this incident now he’s scared of them.

Video taken by Stockdale High School students on February 15 shows KHSD officers tackling a student.

“Him and other student[s] got into a water fight and then the girl started antagonizing my son saying she was going to hit him with her crutches, so security came and told my son to go to the office. The girl kept going after my son making threats to him and swinging her crutches and stuff. My son got triggered by everyone all around and he acted like he was going to run up to her, and then he stopped. That’s when the officer came and threw him to the ground.”

According to Debra Acosta, the student in the video is her son, 15-year-old Quincey Acosta.

“He’s diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and bipolar and he has an IEP. So, there are specific things put in place when situations arise because he has triggers caused by his disability.”

After this incident was captured on camera, Acosta said her son can be heard screaming in this separate video taken by students.

“He was taken into the office, where the officer I guess called for more cops, and then they put my son on the ground.”

23ABC reached out to the Kern High School District about the incident in a statement said quote: "We are aware of the incident that happened on campus at Stockdale High School. The school is reviewing the video and the investigation is ongoing. The appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken.”

Acosta said since the incident she has met with school administration and says they told her what happened wasn’t her son’s fault.

Community Advocate Nadine Escalante said she’s done research on education and policing issues and there are severe issues within the Kern High School District.

“There is a lack of training in their department that I have seen in recent years. That children have been taken down, taken down by their hair, thrown against the wall and on the ground, there is not proper training.”

Acosta said her son was injured in the incident and wants to see change as a result of this video.

“I'm just hoping something gets done about this because it's not okay it’s happening too often with these kids and it's not right and I'm not going to give up I'm going to keep fighting this because it's wrong.”

According to the Kern High School District's website, KHSD officers are post-certified officers who have several years of experience working in law enforcement and who also have extra training to prepare them to work in schools.

Acosta said she is asking the Kern High School District to open an investigation into the force used and to take responsibility for those actions.

East Bakersfield High School's fight

“We have a very hurt mother and child and she’s not the first and will not be the last until we get this problem taken care of as parents and as a community that has unity.”

Xenia King is the President of Mothers Against Gang Violence, and is standing with Tiffany Arterberry, the mother of the student who declined to speak.

Arterberry’s son is Mauric Hill, and while she did not want to go into detail about what led up to the incident, Community Advocate Nadine Escalante said there was an escalating incident where mace was eventually used.

“There was an issue between the student and the officer, the student tried to leave,” said Hill.

23ABC reached out to the Kern High School District about the incident, in a statement said quote: “The Kern High School District is aware of videos circulating on social media from an incident that took place on the campus of East Bakersfield High School on February 9. The incident is being reviewed and investigated.”

Escalante said the Kern High School District has both police officers and campus security, who she said do not undergo the same training: “The security staff, and that’s what was in this video, they have the yellow shirts. Those individuals go by a different standard of training and hiring practices, and that’s what we are concerned about because they are not held to post standards like KHSD police are. The security officers are held to different standards, there is a lack of training.”

King said they want a thorough investigation into what happened the staff involved to take responsibility.

“We also would like for not only the campus guards to take accountability but the principles, the office, the entire office that’s a part of the school system, to take responsibility because they are in charge of educating and protecting our kids. Everyone needs to take accountability of what is happening in these schools.”

The Mothers Against Gang Violence said they don’t want this to happen to another student and are asking parents to get involved with their child’s school district, to ask questions and learn about the policies and training of campus security and officers.