Ex-teacher's aide sues, says school had 'violent conditions'

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — A former teacher's aide shown in a video pushing a student to the floor last year says in a lawsuit that Milwaukee Public Schools failed to warn him about "violent conditions" at the school.

In a lawsuit filed against the school system Tuesday, 40-year-old Jasmine Pennix also contends he was not provided training to deal with "violent, criminal students" at Bayview High School.

"There is an unusually high amount of fighting and violence that occur at Bayview High School," Pennix states in the lawsuit.

A Milwaukee Public Schools spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the district does not comment on pending litigation.

The school fired Pennix a few days after the incident last April. The video shows Pennix pushing the 14-year-old boy and then grabbing him by the neck with both hands as he pushed him to the floor.

Pennix maintains in the lawsuit that there's more to the story. He said the student had "assaulted" him several times before the incident, and that he was trying to restrain the boy after calling for security twice to no avail. He also alleges that a group of students "orchestrated the events" and took the video to get him fired.

Pennix, who is black, is alleging racial and gender discrimination and asking for an unspecified amount in damages. He said in the lawsuit that Milwaukee Public Schools "didn't terminate employees of other races and gender for restraining students who attacked them."

Prosecutors charged Pennix with misdemeanor battery for the confrontation with the student, who is also black. Pennix pleaded no contest but was found guilty in July. He was ordered to pay court costs and sentenced to three days in prison, which he had already served.


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