Family of boy charged with cupping school worker’s breast plans to sue

A 10-year-old Black fourth-grader at Holly Hill School was suspended for 10 days, arrested and charged with cupping the breast of a White female school district mental health counselor during a hug on Oct. 24.

The boy’s family is outraged by the way the incident was handled by the police and the school system.

The family has hired Miami-based Attorney Rawsi Williams of the Rawsi Law Group. Attorney Frank T. Allen of the Allen Firm, P.A. of Orlando is co-counsel.

A press conference was held via Zoom on Monday, Nov. 12. It was attended by Williams; the boy’s dad, his grandparents, West Volusia NAACP President  ean King; the family’s pastor, Cynthia Williams; and the media.

“This school district wrongfully suspended for 10 days and called the police to arrest the boy,’’ said Rawsi Williams, adding that the Volusia County school district didn’t follow its own policies laws, Florida laws or due process.

“There was no investigation and no witnesses. Now this child is in the juvenile justice system. It is incumbent upon us to be here and demand this situation be rectified immediately,’’ the attorney added.

What the police stated

According to a police report, Holly Hill police responded to a call at the Holly Hill School on Oct. 24.

The police report says that a school district behavior specialist said that a student entered the room and hugged her, then moved his hands around and cuffed her breast.

The employee also says that she had never hugged him before and only had one previous conversation with the boy.

The report also states that the employee had to forcefully remove his hands.

In addition, the report says that the teacher in the classroom did not witness the incident. 

The police report further states that when the boy was confronted by his teacher, the behavior specialist stated: “You know what you did.’’

Then the boy started to kick and scream and deny her accusations, the report states.

The report also states that the boy’s grandmother was contacted but refused to let the boy speak to police and refused the Department of Juvenile Justice program that was recommended.

What the family wants

The boy’s family is demanding that the following happen: charges are dropped, his record expunged, a reversal of the suspension, an apology from the school district, termination of the employee, and discipline of the principal and teacher at the school.

Rawsi Williams said the next step is to appeal the suspension, fight the arrest case and file a federal lawsuit against the school district, which could take months.

At a Nov. 3 hearing, the school district upheld the boy’s 10-day suspension and recommended counseling. 

“Time and time again, we have seen the Volusia school system violate the rights of Black students. They have done it at all levels. They often put Black people in front to hide their discrimination,” added Rawsi Williams.

Through tears, the boy’s grandmother emphasized, “This really hurts. I am always fighting for others. I must protect my grandson. When this first happened, I had to explain stuff to him. He had tears running down his face. I could only tell him to fix his face. I am wondering how he will be perceived and looked upon in school from here on out.”

The NAACP is also looking into the matter and noted that there have discriminatory allegations and practices in the school district toward Black and Brown students.

“When I first got the phone call, I couldn’t believe that this had occurred. I get weekly calls about these situations with the Volusia County School District,” commented Sean King, president of the West Volusia NAACP.

“Too often, our Black and Brown kids are on the wrong end of these situations. I am proud of the family for sticking up for this young man. Too often, parents just takes what the school district gives them.” 

King also stated that Black and Brown males make up 46 percent of referrals in the school district despite being a lower percent of the population.

The boy returned to school on Tuesday. He is now in a different class and is to have no contact with the employee.

The Holly Hill police department and Volusia County school district didn’t respond for comment by the Daytona Times’ Wednesday deadline.

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