published Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Bradley County special needs student sent to hospital after fight with officer

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Bradley County Sheriff's Office says a Thursday afternoon fracas at GOAL Academy resulted in a trip to the hospital and charges filed in Juvenile Court against a 16-year-old special-needs student.

The incident, which occurred around 3 p.m. during school dismissal, began with the student becoming visibly "upset, belligerent and cursing," said Bob Gault, spokesman for the sheriff's office.

"The student punched the school resource officer several times when [the officer] tried to detain him," Gault said. "They struggled, and both wound up on in the floor, resulting in some minor scratches to the student's knees."

Gault said the student was as large as GOAL Academy SRO Sam Long.

Emergency medical personnel were in the area and dropped by to take the student to SkyRidge Medical Center for a mental evaluation and treatment of the scrapes, he said.

No school employees were involved in the confrontation, according to the Bradley County Schools' central office.

Johnny McDaniel, director of Bradley County Schools, was made aware of the incident but was not available for comment Friday, officials said.

The GOAL Academy student was involved in a violent incident April 15 on campus that also resulted in a trip to SkyRidge for a mental evaluation, Gault said.

That incident began when a teacher, concerned the child might hurt himself, told him to quit putting his finger into an open soda can, he said.

The student began to choke himself and hit himself in the face, Gault said. Once the SRO had the student under control, a deputy took him to the hospital.

GOAL Academy is an alternative school in the county system that addresses the needs of students with academic or behavioral challenges. It has about 80 students.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Contact him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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