Report released on Board of Education officer incident

RCBOE
Holmon

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Watch video from the press conference.

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Richmond County school officials released video and more information today in the case of a former school safety officer who was fired after authorities say he physically confronted a teen at a Sept. 11 football game. Meanwhile, the former officer, James Holmon, has filed a request to appeal his job loss.

“The representative of the employee has submitted a request for a (Richmond County School) board hearing,” said schools Superintendent Dana Bedden at a news conference today, noting that the representative was provided through the

Georgia Association of Educators. Officials learned of the appeal Thursday, and a date hasn't been set for a hearing, Dr. Bedden said.

Among information released today in the case was the personnel file of former officer James Holmon, showing he had two prior incidents, one he was cleared of and one he was reprimanded on.

Dr. Bedden said the incident of reprimand didn't rise to the level of the Sept. 11 incident in which Mr. Holmon was accused of throwing a 14-year-old student to the ground, placing his hands around his neck and telling him several times “I will kill you.” Dr. Bedden said today that the Sept. 11 incident began when Mr. Holmon was clearing the Academy of Richmond County stadium once a football game between ARC and Josey highs had ended. He said the officer then had a verbal exchange with a teen, who made an inappropriate comment.

Dr. Bedden said the actions of the teen, whose name isn't being released because of his age, will be handled by his school, but the superintendent did say the students comments were inappropriate and should be addressed.

“It is unacceptable, but also, two wrongs don't make a right,” he said of the officer's response to the comments.

The teen reportedly responded to Mr. Holmon with a curse word, asking to whom he was talking, and told the officer that he would punch him in the face. The teen later said he didn't remember saying he would punch the officer and that he cursed only after being held by the neck. Mr. Holmon, however, said in his termination letter that the teen said he didn't have to leave and used a curse word. Mr. Holmon said he then put his hand on the teen's shoulder and that the teen began to ball up his hand in a fist "as if he was going to hit me. ... That's when I punched him away from me and he went to the ground, and I went down with him and restrained him by his lower neck area."

The name of the teen's school wasn't available at today's conference.

Dr. Bedden called the Sept. 11 situation “an isolated incident” that shouldn't speak for the entire school safety department. Based on his tenure and others he's spoken to, Dr. Bedden said he knows of no other similar incident involving a school safety officer.

Click here to read the full report, including witness statements, personnel records, letter of termination, and previous employee incident history.

For more information on the story, read the previous story on the incident:

September 23 - Safety officer fired over incident after ARC game

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