SMITHVILLE — A school resource officer used a taser on a male student during a confrontation Tuesday afternoon at the Wayne County Schools Career Center.

The school was placed on a brief lockdown following the incident, in which the 17-year-old student was described as defiant and threatening as school officials attempted to deal with a disciplinary issue.

Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Doug Hunter said Deputy Matt Little, the school resource officer, called in the incident on the radio to his shift supervisor, who conducted a preliminary investigation.

“What I was told,” said Hunter, was the student “allegedly threatened to assault the deputy by punching him.”

A video of the incident posted on Facebook shows Little, dean of students Bruce Woodruff and the school security officer attempting to restrain the student, who was walking away from them in the school’s Commons area.

 

“At the end of the struggle, the deputy tases him,” Hunter said. “It looks like (the student) is hit on the left side just above his belt line, which is typically where we target.”

The second noise heard on the video “did not result in any contact with the student,” as far as Hunter could tell.

What led up to the conflict, Hunter said, was that “there was a problem between the dean of students and this particular student which centered around a school policy violation.”

The student “allegedly became disruptive and ran away from the dean of students,” Hunter said, “and (the dean) soon encountered the school resource officer, who was going down the hallway.”

The dean of students then requested the assistance of the resource officer.

Superintendent Kip Crain, who was enroute to a conference at the time, said Tuesday evening the student had been involved in disciplinary issues throughout the school year and the school had been working with his home school principal and the student’s father.

According to Crain, the student “wasn’t following directions or listening to anyone,” was using foul language, and “threatened” the deputy.

To the best of Crain’s knowledge, the altercation occurred during the last lunch period, between noon and 1:10 p.m.

"I’m not sure how long the lockdown (lasted),” which was necessary because the taser was used in the vicinity of the Commons, Crain said, but it was over before the end of the school day at 2:30 p.m.

In the 15 years Crain has been superintendent of the Career Center, he said, “This is the first time a resource officer has had to do that (use a taser).”

Hunter said the case of the student will be referred to the county prosecutor. As of Tuesday evening, Hunter thought the student had been released to his parents.

Little, who was automatically removed from service at the school until the sheriff office’s internal investigation of use of force is complete, has been the school resource officer at the Career Center since the beginning of the year.

In addition to the Sheriff Office’s investigation, Crain said the school will be conducting its own investigation.

 

Reporter Linda Hall can be reached at lhall@the-daily-record.com or 330-264-1125, Ext. 2230. She is @lindahallTDR on Twitter.