Student's family concerned about Hickman resource officer's return to school

Thursday, October 23, 2008 | 8:25 p.m. CDT; updated 11:19 a.m. CST, Monday, November 17, 2008

Additions have been made to this story to include action made by the Columbia Police Department that has not appeared in previous Missourian articles.

COLUMBIA —The family of  a Hickman High School student who was injured while attempting to break up a fight has expressed concern about the return of a school resource officer. The family issued a news release Thursday stating that the officer, who is still under investigation, shouldn't be back at the school.

Columbia Police are investigating whether School Resource Officer Mark Brotemarkle's use of force in breaking up the Oct. 15 fight was excessive.

"We don't think it's fair that the police officer should be there while the investigation is still under way and is supposed to take five weeks, " said James Hacking III, attorney for the student, Diamond Thrower. "There is no compelling reason for him to be there."

A student recorded the fight that occurred Oct. 15 and posted the video on YouTube. Thrower's mentor, Ray Magruder, said she told him she was attempting to break up the fight when Brotemarkle threw her to the ground.The throw was recorded on the video.

On Oct. 17, Hickman officials were told that Brotemarkle would not return as Hickman's resource officer until the investigation was complete. Following a decision from the Police Department, Brotemarkle returned to the high school on Monday.

"I know that they have concerns. We have met with (Thrower) and discussed how to make her feel safe. Everyone involved feels horrible," said Wanda Brown, assistant superintendent of secondary education for Columbia Public Schools.

Thrower's family, Magruder, Hacking and school officials met Wednesday evening to discuss Thrower's return to school. Thrower did not attend school until Thursday.

Thursday morning, Hacking wrote a letter to Interim Police Chief Tom Dresner requesting Brotemarkle be reassigned. At the time of the news release on Thursday, the family had not been contacted by Columbia police.

Columbia police Capt. Zim Schwartze declined to comment on the news release written by Hacking.

The news release also expressed concerns about who decided Brotemarkle should return to Hickman. The release states that Brown told the family the Police Department made the decision. Magruder said he was previously told that the school district was insisting upon Brotemarkle's return.

"We were receiving inconsistent information in regards to the presence of the officer at Hickman," Magruder said.

In an interview Oct. 22, Schwartze said the decision for Brotemarkle's return was made according to policy. Officers are to stay in the position unless there is a serious incident, such as an officer shooting, she said. Questions of force that was excessive does not fall under a serious incident, Schwartze said. The Police Department has limited school resource officers and the decision was the best for the school and students, Schwartze said.

A news release written by Interim Chief Capt. Tom Dresner on Oct. 20 said: "The Professional Standards Unit would be conducting extensive interviews, collecting evidence and examining in great detail the circumstances and video that surround this incident."

The police department has been in daily contact with either the family of Thrower or Magruder since the fight. Magruder previously praised the Police Department for its willingness to listen and hold open dialogue with the family over their concerns.

As of Thursday, Thrower's family had no immediate plans for legal action, Hacking said.

"We are taking one step at a time," Hacking said. "We're not jumping ahead."

Brown said she agrees that the investigation needs to "take its course," and the focus should turn to helping students solve their differences without resorting to violence.

"We have to look at what we can do to help students understand, to help young people understand that the way to solve problems is not through fighting," she said. "When a fight happens adults are to handle it, and when adults intervene, it has to stop."

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Ray Shapiro October 24, 2008 | 5:16 a.m.

said James Hacking III, attorney for the student, Diamond Thrower. "There is no compelling reason for him to be there."

It's the officer's job to be there! There's no decent reason for an attorney to be representing this 15 year old girl, though...

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 24, 2008 | 5:35 a.m.

I still stand by my statements concerning the parents of these school kids:

If the parents of these kids would actually raise their children with real values instead of allowing them to grow up as gang banging little wannabe street thugs then this is true the police would not have to be there but until that happens which I myself do not hold out hope for then the police presence will always be needed.

Don't be hating on the police or the teachers nor the school district nor the students themselves but do look at the root of this ongoing problem and that is the parents.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 24, 2008 | 5:54 a.m.

I watched the Hickman teenagers fight video and noticed that there was a woman trying to hold back Diamond "in the rough" Thrower "me into any good old fight."
The adult supervisor was obviously aware of Diamond's intent to "join in the ruckus" and Diamond obviously broke away from this woman's grasp and disobeyed the adult's wishes.
Doesn't this "family," and those who are trying to avert attention away from the perpetrators, realize that they are coming across as ignorant, arrogant, greedy opportunists who only draw resentment from those who know better? These people are just trying to "game" the system and CPD and Bill Watkins should take a stand in favor of Officer Brotemarkle and the swift way he secured the situation.
This "Thrower" girl should have her "mentor" explain that "good" intentions fueled by impulsive emotions and behavior doesn't always mean that you've made a good choice.
A good mentor should help the kid grow up to understand the "big picture" and not just tell her what she wants to hear. I'm sick and tired of adults who think that babying their little "angel's" ego and "self-esteem" is good parenting. It only creates a "we against the world" scenario and perpetuates distance and animosity.
She chose to "jump into the fight" and that is wrong for any student to do. Stop playing the victim and grow up!
How many teenagers have mentors/family spokesman at Hickman anyways? Is this a new trend to replace dads? (Does Diamond Thrower "me into any good fight" have someone assigned to do her homework while she attends the Hickman fight club over-seen by her own personal trainer? When does she plan to get a publicist? Will there be a book deal?) And now she has an ATTORNEY. Well, loddie dah!!! (Get some money for interfering with an officer's job and learn nothing of importance in the process!)
Too much emphasis is being placed on Officer Brotemarkle and Diamond's "feelings" and not on the consequences faced by the students in the fight and the parents having to answer for their bad parenting skills.
Officer Brotemarkle doesn't need to be at Hickman any longer. He deserves immediate removal, a medal and a promotion!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 24, 2008 | 8:32 a.m.

Nice name-calling Ray, stay classy there.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 24, 2008 | 9:02 a.m.

Is it name calling or just putting things in their true perspective with out the additional aide of blinders to only look at one aspect of this issue?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 24, 2008 | 11:24 a.m.

Ray's repeated comments of Diamond "in the rough" Thrower "me into any good old fight" make him sound like the high school student in my opinion.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 24, 2008 | 11:30 a.m.

Well John Schultz I just do not see it that way my friend as ray shapiro is the kind of person who tells things like they are not as alot do trying to make things sound all warm and fuzzy for the broken hearted and the disenchanted.

As I even said nobody besides a small group of the few of who dare to stand up are asking "Where are the parents in all of this" to which the vast majority do not want to stand up and go there but will only put the blame onto everybody else but the parents.

If the parents are not the root of the problem then IMHO there is no solution.

(Report Comment)
Morda Scott October 25, 2008 | 10:47 a.m.

A parent cannot be held responsible for their children's actions. This arguement doesn't hold water ethically, legally or morally. Action, whether passive or aggressive, can only be attributed to choice or decision of the person's involved. Issueing personal attacks on persons regarding this issue makes no sense. People have mentors because they want to better themselves in any event or avenue that they choose. Mentors have been used to enrich not degrade peoples lives. Having met Ray Magruder and interacted with him regarding sporting events, I would say his love of youth, sports and positive interaction thereof is unparelled. He at least doesn't hide behind snide remarks and attempts to insult people to express his love for his community.
Again, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. For everyone that has something negetive to say regarding these people involved, what are you doing personally to help make this community or situation better? Stop throwing insults, volunteer to work with youth, be a mentor to ANY student to present something positive to assist them along their way. Hopefully, this is a very small representation of how the Columbia community feels regarding how to handle the aftermath of something potentially volatile and derisive.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 25, 2008 | 11:42 a.m.

>>> A parent cannot be held responsible for their children's actions. <<<

Morda Scott I call B.S. and I will explain why.

From the time that child is conceived to the time it leaves the home to venture out on to it's own the parent is accountable 100% plus for the education,welfare,upbringing,nurturing and more of that child. To think anything less is to be in denial of that responsibility. Shoving that responsibility off onto others is just lame.

This is the problem that plagues our society today is parents shoving that parental responsibilities off onto others and expecting the same results they themselves would want. I do believe that is a definition of insanity as well.

Yes the parents can be held accountable and as such there needs to be that accountability upheld in our society all the more these days.

This goes into the basic beliefs of your churches many of you probably even go to. Yes I am going to go there with this subject. It does not bother me one bit to talk with people on levels they can understand or values they stand by.

I believe it even says in those books of wisdom that alot of you carry to those same churches every time you go that it says "Raise a child in the way it should go and it will not faulter" which I take to mean after alot of study as "A child raised in the loving and positive nuturement of a home built on fundamentals of peace,love,caring,charity,education,
health and all of the other things that are just and good will not detour down the roads of destruction thus dragging other children with them"

Go take this to your pastors,preachers or spiritual leaders and see how they feel on these comments I present to you here.

The point is until parents are held accountable for their children and this does not have to be by law enforcement but it sure can be by the community as a whole we will continue to see these ongoing problems.

I do not have all of the answers nor think I do as some will try to present but yes I do have a positive outlook on solutions available because we all know it is the negativity that got all of us to this point now but it is only by positivity that we can get ourselves out.

(Report Comment)
timothy virgil October 26, 2008 | 12:45 p.m.

What the HECK does all of that have to do with the innocent child that tried to break up the fight with the JACKED up ankle, by the police, and the innocent teacher that got pushed down by the police. The police knew what he was doing and he used unnecessary force on the girl and the damn teacher. Charles Dudley Jr. I called "B.S." on you because what you are bringing to the table is irrelevant. And this "parent is responsible for the education, welfare, etc..." stuff does not refer back to the incident. So before you start to jump to conclusions stick to the facts and not the bible CRAP.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 26, 2008 | 1:32 p.m.

timothy virgil you are wrong as it is all relevant by means of the whole.

Fact is if parents actually raised their children with better values than obviously these teens involved in these issues at HHS we would not have these issues continually going on.

As for the Bible reference obviously you do not realize that our country was founded upon Christian principles,our Constitution was drafted upon those principles,alot of our laws are drafted upon those same principles and alot of our countries declining moral decay is a result of parents failure to nurture along those same principles as was once taught in the home so long ago.

The root of this issue is with parents and how they have educated and nurtured their children and not the police,CPS or teachers by far.

You may not agree but that is your choice to live upon the "Isle of Denial".

(Report Comment)
Michael Vaughn October 26, 2008 | 2:57 p.m.

After reading all these comments my question is what make Charles Dudley jr the expert on everything?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 26, 2008 | 3:13 p.m.

Michael Vaughn I am not an expert on anything by far. I just present my points of view unlike some here and other places who present no no solutions or will look at the roots of issues presented but prefer to "pass the buck" along down the line continually.That has only gotten society as a whole into the pit it is now.

You might ask how do I know a good parent from a bad parent? Well if you have seen and been where I have been in life then you would know how I come to my conclusions.

Some of us who post on sites like this and others have not lead sheltered lives and as such have seen this society from the bottom side looking up all of our lives which gives us the view of the whole verses the view of the few.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 26, 2008 | 5:46 p.m.

I suggest people read as much as they can from Cosby, and his supporters, on the subject of why such situations occur and how to be a better parent ( and kid) in today's society. It's the 21st. century, boys and girls, so like maybe we should "GROW-UP!"

(Report Comment)
timothy virgil October 26, 2008 | 10:19 p.m.

thank you ray. tell that to dudley.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 27, 2008 | 4:30 a.m.

timothy virgil you missed the entire meaning of what ray posted.

Bill Cosby was chastised by his own race and people for his views on proper parenting.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand October 27, 2008 | 6:18 a.m.

Morda, a parent CAN be held responsible for their children's actions. In fact, under Missouri law, a child can move out at 17, but the parent is still legally responsible for his or her actions. For example, if that child severely injures someone, that party can sue the child's parents -- and there's a good chance that they will because lawsuits always look for the deepest pockets. So although the child has moved out of the parent's house, the child's action can cause the parents to lose their house through no fault of their own.

In Missouri, only the child can petition for emancipation. It doesn't work the other way around. Bottom line: Teach your children right and wrong early on. Fourteen, 15 or 16 is too late, and you could wind up paying for it -- literally.

(Report Comment)
Ali Shaffer October 27, 2008 | 10:27 p.m.

But Ayn Rand......parentsmay be held responsible for their children's actions until they move out,but answer this question.....which is usually the one who gets in trouble for it? The parents or the child???? Yes, the parent does have to pay for damages and what not, but the parent isn't the one with the juvinile officer when the crime is done. Besides, what happens to parents whoppin their kids butts?

(Report Comment)
timothy virgil November 28, 2008 | 8:44 p.m.

oh okay ray i get it now. but still though kids still know right from wrong just as much as parents do. I understand but these are high school kids we are talking about

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 28, 2008 | 9:23 p.m.

No, Ali, parents may be held responsible even AFTER their child has moved out. That's MO law. For example, if their 18-year-old puts someone in a wheelchair, that person could sue the parents for everything they're worth -- not just because of MO law, but also because lawsuits always look for the party with the deepest pockets. So unless the kid has a lot of money -- highly unlikely -- they'll go after the parents.

(Report Comment)

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