Mother Defends Son After He Is Suspended For Assaulting Gardner Alternative School Principal While Trying To Restrain Other Unruly Student On Bus


For a more colorful take on this story click here to read it on TBS.

We have another incident involving a viral video of a student being restrained at an alternative school, this time in Gardner:

A principal at a central Massachusetts alternative high school has been placed on leave after an incident involving a student on a bus, according to the school district. Gardner Public Schools Superintendent Mark J. Pellegrino said the incident happened Thursday on a school bus parked in front of Gardner Academy for Learning and Technology. 

Pellegrino did not offer details about what transpired during the incident, but said while images and videos posted to social media “accurately depict brief moments of the end of this incident, they also create a narrative that is incomplete, misleading and one-sided. Fortunately, a bus camera recorded audio and video of the entire incident,” Pellegrino said.

That video was given to the Gardner Police Department and Gardner’s Human Resources Director, Pellegrino said. Department of Children and Families was also notified.

“As a precaution to ensure we are providing a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all students, the principal has been placed on paid administrative leave while we complete our investigation,” Pellegrino said.

Some students are now facing serious charges. One student Boston 25 News spoke with has been suspended until at least Wednesday and could face expulsion. Izaiah Quinones says he saw his principal pinning down his friend over one of the bus seats.

“When I first saw him, when I first saw the purple in his face I could tell my friend was in harm like he was being hurt from the principal who’s supposed to be the role model of our school,” Quinones said. 

He says he then tried to help his friend, pushing through another teacher to get onto the bus. 

“He went like this, like he was about to swing like hammer fist down on the kid,” Quinones said.

Izaiah’s mother Tracey Clarke says she doesn’t blame her son for trying to help his friend, but she would like to see the entire video from inside the bus to better understand why he is facing serious charges. 

“Nobody’s allowing me to see the video from the school bus, so all we have to go on is what’s outside the bus right now that the kids took,” she said. “The rest of his life over this, trying to help somebody else because what he thought was going on was wrong.”

The incident is under investigation. Gardner Academy for Learning and Technology serves as a dropout prevention program for approximately 60 students, Pellegrino said.


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If your kid ends up at the alternative school it’s because his behavior was so bad that the public schools couldn’t deal with him any longer. This more often than not is a direct result of poor parenting, and a lack of discipline at home. When kids don’t get told “no,” and when their parents constantly make up excuses for them they grow up to believe that they are on an equal playing field with adults. It’s no wonder the student ran onto the bus and grabbed a principal who was restraining a student who was probably being restrained for good reason.

“Nobody’s allowing me to see the video from the school bus, so all we have to go on is what’s outside the bus right now that the kids took,” she said. “The rest of his life over this, trying to help somebody else because what he thought was going on was wrong.”

Perhaps he should’ve thought about his educational career before running onto a bus and assaulting the principal. He likely doesn’t take his academics very seriously if he ended up at this school in the first place. His opinions as to what is right and wrong in regards to the principal’s actions are irrelevant, but he thinks they are because chances are that growing up in his house rules were debatable.

We also have no idea what transpired before this, whether or not the principal is trained in restraints, or what the discipline and violence history is of the student being restrained. We do know that the kid was so poorly behaved that he ended up in this situation in the first place, and I personally take the side of the principal over a kid at an alternative school. But that’s just me.

I have additional insight into this particular story due to my background. I used to work at an alternative school for behaviorally challenged kids in Worcester, so I know they operate, and I know how difficult it can be dealing with them. I also used to spend a lot of time getting to know Peter McMurrow since he was the in-house suspension teacher at South High in the late 90’s and I was a frequent customer. McMorrow had a real military feel to him, and was one of the football coaches.

Nice guy though, and was pretty laid back when you spent 7 hours a day with him. I’m willing to bet money that if this kid was restrained it as for good reason.

And I don’t want you get the wrong impression of teenage me either. I wasn’t one of these alternative school kids who disrespected teachers and ended up in the in-house room. I ended up in in-house for really stupid and juvenile things that really didn’t hurt anyone, but had to be punished anyway. Like jumping in every single club picture in the yearbook, including the Asian Club.

Still one of the greatest accomplishments of my life after the Aaron Alvey tape, which I show you at another time. All I know is that McMurrow ran a tight ship in in-house, there was no talking or messing around. He didn’t want you to want to come back. But I kind of liked it because I had 7 hours of silence to get work done and study for my AP exams. Couldn’t have done it without him. Hopefully McMurrow is vindicated shortly and this kid is finally held responsible for his behavior.


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