Arrest of Antioch High student draws outcry

The arrest of a 16-year-old student at Antioch High School, who witnesses said was held down by security and police officers by his hair, has led to an outcry in the community.

Cell-phone video widely circulated on social media shows two security officers restraining the teenage boy on the ground on Friday.

Moments later, students react in shock after Antioch police join in. Witnesses say at least one officer, with a blue patch on his shoulder, holds onto the boy's hair.

"They're grabbing him by the f-ing hair dude!," one student is heard saying on the video. "I hope you guys are seeing this. They're grabbing him by the hair."

"I'm outraged by what I saw in the video," said Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, adding what happened to the teenager was "dehumanizing."

"I was extremely, extremely taken aback by the way the young man was pinned down to the floor, by pulling on his locks," Thorpe said.

Antioch High officials said the student had threatened to harm classmates, attacked another student and fought with staff despite repeated attempts to de-escalate the situation.

The teen was arrested after he continued to resist after Antioch police arrived. 

In a statement posted online, school principal Louie Rocha said in part, "While the situation is unfortunate, we take the safety of all students extremely seriously and cannot allow one student to threaten the safety of others."

But Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder said, "These are folks, these are personnel who are supposed to be keeping our kids safe, and it seems like they (the students) were scared."

Householder said she wants the board to discuss how future incidents like this will be handled.

"If it was your son, would you want them restrained by their hair? Or do we think that, you know, there are other ways to deal with a student that's acting out?" Householder asked.

The security firm declined to comment, and Antioch police did not respond to a request to discuss the case.