MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — A physical altercation between a male administrator and a female student on a school bus in Madison on Wednesday has led to a statement of support from the superintendent and a law enforcement investigation.
The administrator is an assistant principal at James Clemens High School. A spokesman for the Madison Police Department said the investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed. It is not clear if the focus of the investigation is the student, the administrator or both individuals.
Video clips circulating on social media show the administrator hitting the girl. Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said in a news conference Thursday the administrator was called in to help break up a fight between the girl and another student and did nothing wrong in defending himself against the female student. The school district says the girl hit and bit the assistant principal.
The encounter between the administrator and student continued to reverberate on social media Friday, as clips of the video went viral.
News 19 is not airing any of the videos at this time. Our parent company, Nexstar Media Group Inc., requires permission from the owner of a video before it can be aired.
Nichols also said at the media briefing Thursday that the videos online only show a few seconds of a three-minute encounter.
In view of that, News 19 filed an Alabama Open Records Act request with Madison City Schools Friday, asking for its school bus videos from the incident. News 19 made the request based on the idea that it could be helpful for the community to see the full incident play out on video.
But, late Friday afternoon, News 19’s request was denied.
In an email reply, Dr. Nichols said, “the bus security video in question depicts a student or students who may be charged with violation of policy. Because the video may be presented as evidence in a disciplinary action it would constitute an educational record of the student(s) depicted. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits public disclosure of educational records under such circumstances without the consent of the parent.”
In a follow-up email, News 19 asked Dr. Nichols if the school system would provide the video, if a student’s parent consented. He said the school system’s attorney, who was on the email thread, would have to provide those kinds of specifics.
News 19 will provide an update on our request when we receive an updated response.