Student Gets Mixed Up In "Beat Down Day"

By: Alex Hassel, Roger Hamer
By: Alex Hassel, Roger Hamer

A North High sophomore suffers cuts and scrapes after an altercation with the school's resource officer and security guard.

Former students of North High tell us they knew about the beat down tradition, but thought it was a thing of the past.

One student we talked with got caught up in such an event, but he wasn't injured by other students.

"The kids call it something like a sophomore, freshman beat down," says Marsha Williams, mother of Charles Williams, who got mixed up in the tradition.

Charles has a concussion, bruises, and stitches on his ear.

The North High School sophomore got them after school yesterday, on "Beat Down Day."

"They kind of punch on the lower classmen," Marsha says.

Charles says he wasn't part of a large crowd involved in what the kids call "horseplay."

The school resource officer came to break up the growing crowd, spraying mace where around 100 students gathered.

Charles says he went inside the YMCA to play basketball.

"They told us we couldn't come in," says Charles.

As he was walking out, he got into an argument with a school security guard who'd also arrived to help disperse the crowd.

"He said, 'Boy, I'll "F" you up,' then he said, 'Do something,' that's when I turned around and....(flinches aggressively)," recounts Charles.

"He had twisted his arm behind his back and had him in a full nelson choke hold. My son lost consciousness at that time and then he was taken down to the ground, head first, knee was in his back, now Officer Bonham told me all of this," says Marsha.

Charles regained consciousness and kicked the resource officer.

He was taken down again.

Charles' mother knows her son isn't innocent, but believes the incident could have been handled better.

"I thought that was cruel. I thought that was abusive," Marsha says.

She wants to know why it got this far.

I think the policies need to be reviewed and ultimately changed.

For now, she's teaching her son how to handle it next time.

"I'll just keep going...walk away," says Charles.

Omaha Public School spokesman, David Patton, tells us it is not unusual for school resource officers and security personnel to follow large groups of kids off school grounds if they think there could be trouble.

He adds the district does not condone traditions like "Beat Down Day."

Charles has been charged with obstruction and resisting.


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