Mother of Pacific student outraged over school response after daughter placed in chokehold

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PACIFIC, Mo. – The mother of a Pacific student is outraged after she says her daughter was put into a chokehold that made her pass out during school recess.

She is criticizing the school’s response to the incident but district leaders say they acted appropriately.

“She was terrified,” said Amanda Desmond, the child’s mother.

The incident happened on September 30 on the track area at Pacific Intermediate School.

“It makes me feel real upset,” said 10-year-old Riley Desmond.

Riley says she was at recess when one of her friends got behind her and put her in what she calls a chokehold or a headlock.

She tells us she passed out and woke up with a chin injury and two of her friends standing over her, including the one who put her in the hold.

“It was just hard to think that she would do that to me,” Riley said.

Amanda says no teacher helped her daughter right away and that when Riley went to the nurse’s office and told her what happened, all she did was clean her chin and give her an icepack.

“She said, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ ‘Why would anyone not help me?’ And that broke my heart, obviously,” Amanda said.

Amanda filed a report with the Pacific Police Department and then took her daughter to an emergency room. She says Riley was diagnosed with a neck injury and is now wearing a brace.

“She did not get the proper help at all,” Amanda said. “She should have had some sort of vitals done and as soon as she said she passed out, I mean, the nurse could have taken her blood pressure and realized that she probably just woke up from that.”

Pacific School Superintendent John Mulford says this is a case of horseplay gone too far.

“We’ve done a thorough investigation,” he said.

Mulford says the other girl admits putting Riley into a chokehold and that Riley fell. But Mulford says based on the school’s investigation, it does not appear that Riley was choked to the point of passing out.

“I think it’s probably more likely if she passed out, it was from hitting her chin or her face or head on the ground,” Mulford said.

Mulford says he’s still investigating when teachers learned about the incident and how they responded.

He claims Riley did not tell the nurse that she was choked or had passed out. He says that came out later in the day.

“I have no doubt that our teachers did respond the way we would want them to and the way I would want them to respond to my child,” he said.

Mulford says the other student involved was disciplined.

Riley hasn’t been back to school since the incident.

“I pray every day that she`s going to get better,” Amanda said.

Pacific police confirm that an assault report was filed and they turned the case over to juvenile authorities. Investigators say, at this point, no charges have been filed.

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