A video uploaded to YouTube last week created a firestorm on social media. It shows San Antonio, Texas, school resource officer Joshua Kehm throwing middle school student Janissa Valdez, 12, to the ground, slamming her head into concrete. When the video emerged online, an outcry arose from not only the parent of the girl but from others in the community who thought Kehm’s actions were unwarranted. Kehm was placed on administrative leave while an investigation into his actions proceeded.
Now Kehm has been fired from his job, according to school district officials. San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez stated that the firing was “effective immediately.”
“As educators, it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for all of our students. We understand that situations can sometimes escalate to the point of requiring a physical response; however, in this situation we believe that the extent of the response was absolutely unwarranted. Additionally, the officer’s report was inconsistent with the video and it was also delayed, which is not in accordance with the general operating procedures of the police department. We want to be clear that we will not tolerate this behavior,” said Martinez in a statement.
The violent encounter took place on March 29 and came about because Janissa was going to confront another girl about rumors going around the school. A crowd soon surrounded the two girls and Kehm intervened when he thought a fight was going to break out. Kehm claims that he slammed the girl to the ground when she attempted to kick him in his groin but video and witness statements did not support his version of the events. Kehm had been employed by the San Antonio Independent School District since February 2015. He was previously a member of the United States Air Force.