Brevard County school principal arrested after pinning child with special needs to ground: Deputies

A principal at a special needs school in Brevard County was arrested on Feb. 20 for reportedly placing his knee on a child's back while pinning them to the ground, deputies said. 

The principal of Learning Forward Education Center in Melbourne, 65-year-old John Long, was arrested on one charge of child abuse without great bodily harm for the Feb. 17 incident that left the child with multiple injuries, deputies said.

The child was allegedly being disruptive in class and calling another student using profanity. Long escorted the child from the classroom, placing him in another class. The student left the building and sat alone outside for about 15 minutes. 

When the class went to lunch, the student joined the end of the line. Long told the child he would eat inside and was not allowed in line, deputies said. Long then "grabbed both arms of the child and from behind pushed him to a flight of steps leading to the building," according to an arrest affidavit. 

Long placed the child in a hold by standing behind and holding the student's arms at his side. Long also "forcefully rolled the child into a handrail three times."

After ten minutes passed, Long let the child go and then pinned him to the ground by placing one knee in the back and holding his arms. He held one hand on the child's head who kept saying he couldn't breathe, a witness told deputies. 

The child ended up sustaining an injury to the back, lacerations to the right eye, and scratches on the forearm and knee.