ARIZONA NEWS

Parent of 5th grader in Phoenix seeking reform after claiming her son was mistreated

Aug 24, 2023, 10:21 AM

school building Vista del Sur...

(Facebook Photo/Vista del Sure Accelerated Academy)

(Facebook Photo/Vista del Sure Accelerated Academy)

PHOENIX — The parent of a fifth grade elementary student in Phoenix is seeking reform after she said her son was severely mistreated by a school official while on campus earlier this year.

Video shows Danielle Jordan’s son being physically restrained on April 25 at Vista del Sur Accelerated Academy by a former assistant superintendent for the Laveen Elementary School District after the child showed up to school while he was unknowingly suspended the day before.

Jordan said that lines were crossed with her child that never should have been.

“What hurts is that you didn’t take the time to call me. You didn’t take the time to even apologize,” Jordan told the school governing board.

“You didn’t take the time to treat my kid as a man. You didn’t take the time to even respect me as a parent. You didn’t reach out to me — you lied to these fine people and said that you did, and you know darn well that you didn’t.”

What happened April 25 at the elementary school?

Jordan’s son went to school April 25, not knowing he was suspended the day before for being defiant, she told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show on Wednesday. He was eventually informed about his suspension in the counselor’s office, where the situation escalated after he called his mother.

As Jordan’s son was asking her to pick him up from school, she heard former school official Kathy Davis say, “Give me that phone! I told you you can’t call her!” Then the call ended.

How the incident unfolded, however, is difficult to determine.

While Jordan drove to Vista del Sur, her son went to the bathroom, where his mother alleges Davis and him were alone for five minutes. Jordan also claimed the school’s principal, Jessica Epacs, was standing outside the bathroom, acting as a guard.

“You can see kids coming in and out, and they’re wondering what’s going on and they’re just being shooed and flagged away. At no point did she even try to come in to check on my son. She aided and abetted. She gave cover for her to do what she did to him,” Jordan said.

Jordan claimed Davis verbally harassed, threatened, restrained and pushed her son when they were inside.

After the pair exited the bathroom, video footage shows the moment Jordan’s son went to the school’s office lobby, just before Davis walks in and puts him in a hold. The hold on the student lasts for nearly two minutes, with Davis appearing to sit on him at one point.

Jordan said the district is in need of more adequate training in handling children with disabilities, cultural diversity and a change of staff.

The school board, addressing the matter at the meeting, said it determined the holds used by Davis were inappropriate.

“We do not condone such conduct. Our staff members undergo training for holds and will continue to undergo training for holds,” President of the school board Jill Barragan said at the meeting.

What’s next for Jordan?

Since the release of the video, Jordan said she’s heard an abundant amount of complaints regarding issues at Vista del Sur, as well as the school district.

“My son being choked — he was restrained, as well, but he was also being choked — this is a normal practice for them,” Jordan said. “I was wondering why on the videos … nobody was really alarmed. They have choked kids before, especially this one little 5-year-old boy.

“We’re going to discuss that on a later note, where other people might end up coming forward and telling their story and filing complaints, as well.”

Black Women’s Forum and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are among the organizations backing Jordan and her son.

We want to hear from you.

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Parent of 5th grader in Phoenix seeking reform after claiming her son was mistreated