ORLANDO, Fla. - 9 Investigates whether downtown Orlando library employees are being trained after a video surfaced showing an employee appearing to nearly tackle a child.
Several other employees and citizens complained after witnessing the incident firsthand.
One woman who witnessed the incident said it looked as if the children were being treated as criminals.
Surveillance video taken from inside the Orange County Library System’s downtown branch shows three children, believed to be Howard Middle School students, zipping through crowds of people and ignoring library employees.
The video shows one of the children running into the side of a man.
Documents provided by the library system show it is not the first time the three children have caused chaos at the branch.
A different camera angle shows the moment that sparked an internal investigation. The video shows an employee crossing a hallway to block one child, before holding him under the arm, with his legs and feet appearing to dangle.
When a second child walks up, the same employee is seen on video grabbing him by the chin.
The footage is silent.
A complaint call to administrators described the scene.
The caller said, “Staff yelled at the kids” and that the “kids were treated like criminals.”
Other staff members raised questions, too. Part of an internal investigative report noted that a staff member said the incident was “making her sick and really bothering her.”
The staff member also said that two other employees asked her if they were allowed to touch children.
The concerns were brought up to the employee in the video. An administrator told that employee “it looked like she tackled the kid,” to which the woman in the video said, “No. I just put my arm out.”
The employee blamed her actions on a lack of policy, stating that “staff have had no training in these situations.”
9 Investigates reporter Karla Ray asked administrators whether any training had been provided since the incident. A library representative did not respond.
The employee, who was disciplined, stated, “I did nothing illegal, and it is not written anywhere that you cannot touch a child.”
An OCLS representative sent 9 Investigates the following statement:
“It is the library’s goal to provide our customers a safe and welcoming environment, and we do not condone physical restraint of customers by staff. After an investigation, we took appropriate disciplinary action against the employees involved in this incident. Staff that interact with the public were also counseled to help them understand how the situation could have been better handled.”
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