LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) — A Lorain High School safety officer is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the use of excessive force while breaking up a fight between students.
Lorain City Schools on Wednesday released an eight-second long video captured by a high school student on her phone that shows safety officer, Michael Johnson, attempting to break up a fight between two high school girls.
The video ends moments after Johnson places himself between the two girls, pushing one of them away. The girl he pushes collides with a wall, then drops to her knees.
In a statement, the district says the safety officer was able to end the student’s altercation and subsequently handled the student’s disciplinary process appropriately.
However, district officials recently learned of a cell phone video of the safety officer’s actions while addressing the altercation that was not in the initial incident report.
“After a full investigation, the district will take any appropriate measures,” the release said. “The district takes the safety and well-being of our students very seriously, and district officials have been in contact with the student and family. In addition, the Lorain Police Department and Lorain County Children Services have been notified of the incident, and the district will cooperate fully as needed.”
FOX 8 also obtained a copy of Johnson’s personnel file on Wednesday, which shows he was hired in 2015 and had previously worked as a corrections officer where, in his application, he says he worked with troubled juvenile inmates.
“I was able to effectively direct said inmates in an orderly manner. I was able to use my communication skills best when inmates became disruptive,” he wrote.
His personnel file shows positive reviews of his work in the district over the past seven years and no previous complaints.
It also reveals that Johnson was previously in the United States Marine Corps.
The district was not commenting on Wednesday beyond what was in its initial release.
The school safety officers are not employees of the police department. They are employed by the school district, but they are represented by a union. FOX 8 also reached out to their union representative but received no response.
Two weeks ago, Lorain Superintendent Jeff Graham recommended the firing of an 8th grade science teacher following a fight that broke out outside of his classroom in which the teacher did not attempt to break it up.
In an interview with the School Board President Bill Sturgill following that incident, he said the district takes these types of matters very seriously.
“When you send your kids to school and you entrust us with them, we need to know that they are safe and, in most cases, I think that we are pretty safe in Lorain City Schools ,” said Sturgill. “We go to great lengths to ensure everybody’s safety. We go to great lengths to make sure that we have a good environment.”
Sturgill could not be reached on Wednesday for comment about Johnson’s investigation.