Archive for Saturday, March 25, 2006

Student shocked by Taser in school

March 25, 2006


— The mother of a 15-year-old high school student is considering legal options after her son was shocked by a stun gun while refusing to follow a police officer's commands and resisting arrest.

The student, Jarrett McConnell, is awaiting an expulsion hearing after an altercation at North High School in Wichita on March 16.

According to school officials, McConnell was in assistant principal Gilbert Alvarez's office after he did not report to the school's in-school suspension room. There, McConnell became disruptive and pushed the school security officer.

That prompted the school police officer, James D. McCargo Jr., to arrest the student, said Galen Davis, the district's safety services executive director. Galen said McConnell was shocked by a Taser after resisting arrest.

"The officer gave commands several times," said Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz. "He failed to comply, and a Taser was used."

McConnell's mother, Michelle McConnell, said she does not believe the school district and police account of what happened. She also said McCargo had no reason to use the Taser on her son, a special-education student. She said she has hired a lawyer to prevent her son's expulsion and to explore other legal options.

"My kid is not a violent kid," she said.

Other parents in the school district were not informed of the incident. It was the first time a Taser has been used on a Wichita student since officers began carrying them in January.

District officials said they believe the proper course of action was taken and deferred to the judgment of the police in its policies regarding Taser use.

"I'm against the Board of Education making policy for the Wichita Police Department," said Wichita school board member Chip Gramke. "Whether this happened in the street or school hallway, I have to trust the police officer to do the right thing and what they are trained to do."


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