BSO report suggests student claiming physical abuse was unruly
COOPER CITY, Fla. (WSVN) -- A report by the Broward Sheriff's Office concludes the actions of a security guard accused of choking a middle school student were for the teen's own safety.
Fifteen-year-old Paul Rainford, a student at Pioneer Middle School in Cooper City, admitted he argued with a lunch staffer and a security guard at school on Tuesday, but both he and his family countered that the guard went too far.
According to the BSO report, however, Rainford had gotten into a heated argument with a cafeteria worker who asked him to throw his lunch tray away. According to the report, Rainford "got into her face and started yelling, 'You don't scare me. No one does.'
Rainford said that what began as a verbal altercation about putting away a food tray at the school cafeteria suddenly turned physical when the security guard intervened. The BSO report indicates
that when the security guard approached Rainford, the student yelled at him, "You don't tell me to be quiet." When the guard grabbed Rainford by the arm to take him to the office, the report goes on to say the teenager "began swinging his arms and with clenched fists in an attempt to break away from (the security guard)."
"That's when he got on top of me and put [his forearm] against my throat, and leaned forward and started cutting off my circulation," Rainford said. According to the BSO report, the guard "used his body to pin (Rainford) to the ground in an attempt to control him."
Rainford claimed that at this point, he gasped for air but realized that he could not take a breath. "I took three gasps, but no air came through to my lungs," he said.
The eighth grader said the security guard would not get off him or release the pressure on his throat. "He continued to cut off my circulation, and I passed out," Rainford recalled. He said the guard did not let go of him until after he blacked out.
Rainford did not regain consciousness until 15 minutes later. "I woke up to see that my vision was blurry," he said. "I was sweating, there was [vomit] on the floor, and they were telling me I'd had a seizure," he continued.
Clovis Rainford, the student's father, claimed the school was not forthcoming about what happened to his son. "When I went to the school to pick him up, they showed no concern for him. They didn't want to mention that he'd passed out," he said.
A Broward Schools spokesperson said the security guard is still working at Pioneer Middle School, but school police are reviewing the incident.
Rainford admitted in the BSO report that he has an anger problem, but he still believes the guard used excessive force. "I think he was out of his mind, because he should have never done that," he said.
The Rainfords have hired attorney Janet Spence to represent them. "This is conduct that, in my opinion, as an attorney, is appalling," she said. "This situation could have been more tragic."
Rainford agrees with his lawyer. "I was pretty scared. I thought he was going to knock me unconscious, into a coma or kill me," he said.
Spence pointed out the physical disparity between her client and the security guard. "The guard is approximately 280 pounds and stands at 6 feet 2 inches tall. Paul is only 5 feet 4 and weighs 120 pounds," she continued.
Rainford went to the hospital following his altercation. He said he has felt pressure in his right ear and a bruised throat, but he added that he is looking forward to going back to school.
Rainford's family is considering a lawsuit, and disciplinary action might be taken against the guard once the investigation is completed.
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