Duval County assistant principal suspended following school fight

DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — A Duval County assistant principal is suspended without pay following an investigation in to a fight at Westside High School.

The Duval County School Board approved the 15-day suspension without pay for Assistant Principal Oscar Harris, Jr. on April 7. The suspension is in relation to a school fight that occurred on Jan. 7 where an 11th-grade student was picked up and thrown to the ground.

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The fight happened among several students and was broken up by Harris and other staff members. The staff members were reportedly struck, pushed and punched when trying to break up the fight.

The initial school-based investigation into the fight revealed that the students were the aggressors and the staff attempted to stop the fight. Duval County School Police and Florida Department of Children and Families separately investigated the incident. However, DCF closed the case as “Not Substantiated for Physical Injury” and the police closed the case for lack of evidence.

The case was opened later when the parents of the student went to the school's principal and showed video of the altercation. The parents claimed that Harris picked up the student, took him to the ground and choked him.

Through witness statements and additional videos obtained, it was determined that Harris used poor judgment and inappropriate physical contact. However, there was no evidence that Harris choked the student, said DCPS.

In the report, Harris told investigators he didn't meant to hurt the student that day. H said he was just acting in a way to break up the fight.

Harris was disciplined twice before, once in Broward County and once in Duval County.

Harris was terminated by the School Board of Broward County on March 20, 2011 after he arranged for someone else to take the Florida Educational Leadership Examination by the Florida Department of Education.

DCPS then suspended Harris for 30 days without pay in January 2012 when he gave false statements to law enforcement during a criminal investigation and asked others to submit false statements.

As part of the reprimand, Harris must also successfully complete an accredited college-level course designated by the district or other approved professional development training with a B grade of higher during the 2014-2015 school year. The course will be in the area of conflict resolution and de-escalating aggressive behavior.

Harris will return to work on April 30.