Kalamazoo Schools student files lawsuit against school administrator over ‘floor slamming’ allegation

KALAMAZOO, MI — The family of a Kalamazoo Schools student has filed a lawsuit against a school administrator they allege slammed the student onto a concrete floor, causing injury.

Jennifer Coker and her daughter filed the lawsuit in Kalamazoo Circuit Court against Brandon Tyler Lukes, dean of students at Kalamazoo Central High School.

In the lawsuit, the family claims Lukes wrongly slammed the 16-year-old onto a cafeteria concrete floor on Jan. 11. According to a police report, the student admitted she was trying to fight another student at the time.

Kalamazoo County prosecutors, after reviewing a report from the Kalamazoo Township Police, declined to issue any charges in the case.

Prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to support an assault charge against the administrator, who told police he fell when he was trying to pick the student up and carry her away. He was trying to break up the altercation.

“After a thorough review of the witness accounts and security video, it was clear that the student involved was in an extremely agitated state and appeared to be a danger to herself and others,” Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Scott Brower said in an earlier statement to MLive. “The staff person’s actions were done for the purpose of preventing injury to other students, staff, and to the student herself. Under the circumstances, her conduct does not meet the elements of a criminal assault.

Related: Student slammed on ground by school employee in Kalamazoo, mother says

Attorney Jon Marko, representing the student’s family, said he believes another student’s cell phone video contradicts the administrator’s statement about accidentally falling. The video, while blurry, appeared to capture the incident between Coker’s daughter and the administrator.

Marko also said there was never any physical fight, only words exchanged between students.

In the lawsuit, Marko said the student had injuries to her head and elbow because of being put to the floor.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for physical pain and suffering, emotional distress and severe anxiety.

Efforts to reach Lukes or leaders with Kalamazoo Public Schools were not immediately successful.

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