Action News Jax Investigates: 8th grader facing possible battery charges after violence on soccer field

Deputies investigate soccer filed violence

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The beautiful game of soccer turned ugly for one local family.

“My son could have been seriously hurt, paralyzed, or potentially never the same again,” said Jasmyne Monroe, whose son is in sixth grade. “All we wanted was an apology. That’s it.”

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But Monroe says that has not happened, so she filed an incident report with the St. Johns County Sheriff’’s Office. It says her son “has been complaining of shoulder pain.”

The sheriff’s office has recommended battery charges, and now it’s up to the state attorney’s office to prosecute.

“This is outside the scope and framework of soccer,” said Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson. “The child can actually be charged [by the state attorney’s office].”

Becker originally took Monroe’s concerns to both the St. Johns County School District and the president of the St. Johns Middle School Athletic Association to ask about this incident.

The district told Becker before the original story aired:

“SJMSAA (St. John’s Middle School Athletic Association) is one of several youth sports associations in our county aligned with the St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department. They are a not-for-profit corporation that operates completely independent of the St. Johns County School District. They utilize the school district names and logos by a licensing agreement only. That said, we certainly do not condone conduct or activities that reflect unfavorably on the district or schools. As with other youth sports associations that our students across the district participate with, we do not oversee their organizational decisions, process and procedures related to things such as fees, structure for try-outs, final rosters, securing officials, discipline of athletes, scheduling of fields for practices or contests, etc. I am confident the SJMSAA will follow up with athletic concerns and remain consistent with their policies and practice as they have in the past when dealing with athletes, parents, spectators and such.”

The St. Johns Middle School Athletic Association told Becker:

“First let me preface this email with the understanding that SJMSAA (St. John’s Middle School Athletic Association) is a not-for-profit corporation that operates completely independent of the school district of St. John’s County. We utilize the school district names and logos by a licensing agreement only. Upon learning of the situation and with only one game remaining in the tournament, the SJMSAA tournament committee removed the player in violation of the student-athlete code of conduct in the video. Additionally, SJMSAA at my direction is reviewing the events that led up to this incident so we can be sure to take the corrective actions with our industry partners so as to be sure incidents like this are mitigated in the future. Due to the ongoing review of this incident, we have no further comment at this time.”

On Monday, Becker requested follow-up statements.

The school district did not respond.

The St. John’s Middle School Athletic Association responded: “Due to the ongoing review of this incident, we have no further comment at this time.”

The association told the sheriff’s office in the report that the older child “has been suspended from playing any sports through springtime” and went on to say the child is in “8th grade and when he reaches 9th grade they cannot enforce any disciplinary action.”

“What this child did to my child is assault,” Monroe said. “I want to make that very clear.

“No party wins in this. It’s an ugly dispute. What I hope to accomplish now is accountability and responsibility for the actions that occurred.”

The attorney representing the older child’s family told Becker he has no comment.

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