LOCAL NEWS

Student accused of attacking Kearns High teacher has special needs, district says

Nov 29, 2023, 7:14 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

KEARNS — The Granite School district is now investigating what it calls an “egregious” attack on a teacher in the classroom. That teacher is said to be recovering, as is an Assistant Principal and a resource officer who assisted the teacher.

The district revealed Wednesday that student has special needs.

Police told KSL TV Tuesday the 14-year-old student had the teacher in a chokehold. They say the incident happened after the student was late for class and an argument with the teacher ensued. She attempted to have him leave the classroom.

That’s when District Spokesperson Ben Horsley said the alleged attack happened.

“This wasn’t something that kind of slowly escalated, it was like something snapped,” he said.

Horsley says in addition to their special needs, the student also has what he called some “mitigating factors.”

“The student is at risk for a variety of reasons which I’m not able to disclose,” he said.

A woman claiming to be a family member of the student also reached out KSL TV and did not want to speak publicly. She believes that this student acted out because of trauma they’ve experienced and his special needs.

Horsley says the district will need to determine how that factored into the alleged attack.

“We have to actually investigate the matter and determine whether the disability manifested itself as part of the behavior problem. So did the disability potentially cause the behavior issue?”

The student is now suspended from school. Granite school district doesn’t expel students. A committee will now decide if they move him to another school. He’s also facing possible criminal charges.

“So, if the students convicted that obviously, based on the evidence, those all those factors will play into what action we take administratively,” Horsley said.

The incident also highlighted the need for school safety.

Granite District has two Unified Police resources officers at Kearns High.

Horsley says he wants more so they can help “be in the right place at the right time.”

“Is that enough? I’m going to say no, I’m going to say, but we don’t have the financial resources to provide additional assistance and support,” he said.

Horsley says he’s hoping the legislature will provide some money for that.

“I think that’s a statewide and nationwide problem, given the nature of the types of behaviors that we’re seeing, really, since the pandemic, a lot of those issues are outsized and particularly violent.

Meanwhile, Horsley hopes the teacher can get back to the classroom quickly.

“She makes an incredible difference for the students at Kearns High School, and we’d like to see her back in the classroom. But that’s going might take some time.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Student accused of attacking Kearns High teacher has special needs, district says