A Derby High School student who was seen wearing his pants inappropriately was injured in a scuffle with a school resource officer on Wednesday, April 27.
The student was taken by Sedgwick County EMS to a Wichita hospital for treatment of a fracture to his wrist and an injury to his eye.
The SRO noticed the freshman student walking out of the school and wearing his pants down around his knees and asked him to comply with school policies, according to Police Chief Robert Lee. School policies forbid "sagging" pants, as students call the trend, as part of an overall effort to keep gang-related activity out of local schools.
"This is a public school and I think somebody with their pants down around their knees is real inappropriate," Lee said.
The student declined to obey the SRO’s instructions and he then attempted to take the 17-year-old to the school office, Lee said. The policy violation is an administrative matter, not a police matter, he said.
After refusing, the student struggled with the SRO and got free, Lee said. The SRO then attempted to taser the student, but the taser’s probes hit clothing and not skin, so it was unsuccessful, he said.
The student was then physically restrained and sustained the injuries.
Lee said the department will follow its procedures which review the case anytime an officer is involved and a person is injured.
The student’s mother, Victoria Hernandez, said through an interpreter that her son thought he could wear his pants in a sagging manner because school was out for the day.
"She understands if they need to arrest him for being disrespectful," the interpreter said. "She doesn’t feel they need to beat him up for whatever reason."
Hernandez said her son has served suspensions for things such as sliding down the handrail on the stairway. She also said she believes the problems have been exacerbated because the SROs have an issue with Hispanics.
"Nothing indicates any racial connection," Lee said. "It is simply a flagrant violation of school policy that could have been handled administratively, if he had not resisted the SRO."
Hernandez contacted The Informer about the incident and said her son could be identified as Jonathan Villareal. Lee declined to confirm the name or whether he is identified by police as a gang member, citing student confidentiality.
The department will take the incident to the district attorney for possible criminal charges against Villareal.
"The scariest gang of all is the police gang. They have free reign, to beat, taser, frame, etc. The age old adage from Socrates comes to mine (a name that is probably no where to be found in the "lol educational" system we have today).. "Who guards the guardians?" "Who watches the watchers?" Who protects us from the "protectors" aka police if they misbehave? Conducting an assult like that is easily a felony that could basically destroy your life. I know if I were to that, after serving a minimum of about 10 years in prison, my life would be tarnished with a felony offense. Seems I just need to become a cop and look for any excuse to conduct felonies every day."
"Well, I am a student and the Derby Middle School and I disagree greatly with how the SRO's treat the students within the schools. In fact just the other day i went from one table to another at lunch and the SRO came up to me and said "Now "Imma" have to snatch a knot on your head if you keep jumpin' round tables." And honestly it gets my blood boiling that some police officers think because they have a badge and a gun it gives them the right to treat students like their nothing, and in the case of Jonathan(The young man that was "sagging") it was another way of Derby police showing that they are "hard" and can handle any thing. And actually I live right down the street from Jonathan and was surprised at the great damage the officer did to him. In our schools, we as students and teens alike, deserve to have caring people within our district and I feel thats why the Drop-Out rate has increased terribly at Derby. And as for the the people that only think of one side of the story, open up abit look at both sides... was it truly neccesary to break a 15 year old's arm and pop 2 veins in his eye just because he mouthed off and wouldn't pull up his pants?"
"My biggest concern of this whole thing is the "Derby Graduate" comment. Please do not announce that you are a graduate from Derby and spell things the way you do. We should probably be focusing on raising graduation standards. Also, I support the use of the taser %u2013 just disappointed it didn%u2019t work.. "
"I have been in Derby for 13 years and am very grateful for what our Officers have to put up with....protecting us from Gang Bangers, Drunk Drivers, etc. for the little pay and respect they receive in return. Sorry this young man was injured, but do we really have all the facts??? Aren't you basing everything on what was in the media? Wasn't this based soley on his story? Why is this 17 year old still a Sophmore? Why does his family let him wear that type of clothing to school? Does he disrespect his own parents in English or Spanish? I think I will wait for the investigation to be completed to find out what really happened. If the Officers were out of line, I trust they will be dealt with by their superiors, and not the media or our slander. I just want to say thank you to Derby PD for everything they do and put up for the little pay they make and the hours they put in. As a parent of a High School student , I hope they keep the SRO's in our budget for next year! I also hope the young man will go to school to learn, graduate, and suceed in life. Our youth are our future Police Officers, Media, Teachers, etc!"
"I went to this school and am a white male and i can tale you from personal exsperience that the years i spent there where the worst of my life not because of students but because the staff and facuility where so closed minded and discriminated against not only race and class but whatever after school activities you did. I loved to skateboard when i was a kid and hardly ever got in trouble at school unless i was with my skateboard freinds or had my skateboard. I had to where certain clothes so that i did not stand out as a skateboarder or i would have been pin pointed for displinary action. I feel bad for any underage kid that has to face adult violence because he thinks hes cool when he bags his pants. It is not the sro place to tell the kid how to dress. If they way they dress is a distraction then the sro should have reported to a counsler or principal instead of breaking his arm and tasing a minor. This is why everyone else in the state dislike people from derby and if you say your from there people think that your a stuck up white rich individual even that might be a world away from the truth. So i rather say i went to southeast than have to deal with people thinking im some sort of derby prick."
"There are two separate issues at work here, and they are not as related as many are making them out to be. First, there is the issue of the disobedient and disrespectful student. He was clearly out of line, and the police officers should have taken his name and let the school administration deal with him the following day. The second issue is around whether or not the police officers acted responsibly and with the best interest (and the safety) of the students in mind. In this case, just as in many other cases, they did not. In fact, this incident clearly represents a case of police brutality based on a very personal, angry, and inappropriate reaction to being "dissed" by the teen. Having been a resident of Derby for almost 20 years now, I have experienced countless negative interchanges with the local police. It is not at all unusual for the Derby police to use egregiously aggressive tactics which are completely out of proportion to what is required. This "family friendly" community is one of the LEAST family friendly places I've ever seen, and I have lived in numerous large cities across the country. In addition, there have been several unsavory incidents involving SROs that have resulted in the SROs being dismissed. There is no reason for the schools to have SROs unless those officers are there to serve in the PROTECTION of the students, not the beating of them for relatively minor offenses. It is the mentality of brutality-enabling posters which empowers the neanderthals of a police force like Derby. As the parent of extremely respectful and accomplished kids, I can attest to the fact that it is NOT just the "thuggy" kids who are treated this way by the Derby police. Anyone considering a move to Derby should be very aware that the image the city likes to present differs significantly from the reality of being a prisoner-citizen of this town with a loose-cannon police force. If it can happen to the kid in the above article, it can happen to you...and for much less than what this student did. "
"Jonathan is, without a doubt, the victim of police brutality. Consider for a moment what you would think of the SRO's actions if he were not dressed in the holy raiment of the "law enforcement"."
"You people need help. A kid gets beat for not wearing his pants the right way by a bunch of fat tax-leaching bullies and you complain about the fact that the mom can't speak english. "
"In the old days dress code violations were handled by staff with 1 day suspension and a call to parents. Now the "SRO" handles dress code violations with violence, injury and criminal charges. How much do we pay these guys to beat up kids for dress code issues? No wonder this country is bankrupt. "
"The mother should learn how to speak english and she wouldn't need an interpreter. Not trying to stereotype but the family is probably from mexico and might not even be legal. Derby should get immigration involved. Doesn't anyone see what's happening in mexico? Dangerous, ruthless...it starts somewhere. it's in the blood!"
"Not another race card excuse. I'm glad that the school has these policies in place and I'm happy with the result. I'M Hispanic and I know my people very well and you all others should too. Alot of young Hispanics love the gang life style and it has to be controlled at all costs. This kid is just a freshman and already defies authority. His mother needs to get control of this kid before it gets worse. Good job Derby. The only sad thing about this story is that the kid most likely won't straighten out anytime soon."
"How about being outraged with students beleiving blatant disregard for safety, authority, and structure? I say "thanks" to the SRO for looking out for the other 99% If the student believes the requirements of DHS are unreasonable, he has the right to persue other options."