By Katy Moeller
The Idaho Statesman
BOISE, Idaho — A Frank Church High School student who was kicked out of school Friday refused to leave, then punched a school resource officer in the face, according to the Boise Police Department.
The student also punched a 61-year-old employee who tried to help the officer. The 17-year-old, whose name hasn't been released, was booked into the Ada County Jail on felony battery on a law enforcement official, misdemeanor battery and resisting/obstructing an officer.
The incident occurred at 11:50 a.m. Friday at Frank Church, the district's alternative high school. That was around lunch time, so dozens of students were in the hallway — and they had their cellphones.
Video posted online from the incident took on a life of its own over the weekend on websites from the Boise Guardian to a national site focused on the right to photograph police actions.
Police and school officials Monday provided details about what they say happened.
The resource officer tried to escort the teen out of the building, but he resisted, police said. The officer then tried to take the boy into custody, and that's when the boy allegedly hit the officer in the face. The officer then radioed for help.
A short note from the school to parents Friday about "an incident that occurred today at lunch" said that "school operations returned to normal" before lunch ended at about 12:30 p.m.
Police say their attempt to subdue the teenager took about three minutes. In one video of the incident posted online, a school official can be seen walking with her hand toward the camera and saying, "You don't need to video."
Some of the websites that picked up the video alleged that excessive force was used on the teen and that students' cellphones were seized as part of a coverup.
Boise School District spokesman Dan Hollar told the Statesman two phones were taken from students "in the heat of the moment," but they were returned within 20 minutes.
"The situation was fairly chaotic, emotions were running high," Hollar said, noting district officials apologized for taking the phones. "We didn't delete anything from them."
District policy on cellphones says that students using phones in classrooms or hallways -- without permission of principal or other designated official — can have their phones confiscated until the end of the school day.
Subsequent unauthorized use can result in confiscation until the end of the school year, or until a parent or guardian claims the devices.
Frank Church Principal Cedric Minter told the Statesman Monday that students at the high school do have permission to use cellphones during lunch and in the hallways between classes. There's no prohibition on shooting video.
Minter said incidents like what happened Friday are rare.
"We don't have a lot of that. I know people think we have that happen almost every day," Minter said. "We run a tight ship."
The teen did not require medical treatment, police said. The officer's and school employee's injuries were minor.
The incident remains under investigation.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2014 The Idaho Statesman