RANKIN, Pa. — A school employee in Pennsylvania is facing charges after police said he picked up a student by the neck twice and carried him down a hall.
Joseph Golden III, 50, appeared in court Thursday after Allegheny County Police filed the charges May 9. Golden worked as a behavior specialist at the Rankin Promise School, which is an alternative education program for students with academic and behavior issues.
Surveillance video of the April incident is the central piece of evidence in the case. Cameras inside the school captured video of Golden lifting a 13-year-old boy by grabbing him in the neck and shoulder areas two times.
After Thursday's hearing, Golden's lawyer said his client was only doing his job.
"The kid didn't go to the hospital. He didn't go to the doctors. He told the principal he wasn't hurt. This isn't a simple assault," the attorney, Patrick Thomassey said. "We have to have some discipline in school. It's why we have these officers, that's their job, to maintain order."
Thomassey said the boy repeatedly walked out of class in the hours leading up to the incident caught on video and Golden escorted him back to class each time.
"Then finally the kids says, 'I'm going to do what I want,'" Thomassey said.
"It was a terrible incident. We’re very upset about it," Woodland Hills Superintendent Alan Johnson said after the charges were announced. "We have begun the process to terminate the employee. He was removed immediately from the school."
Thomassey said as of Thursday, Golden was still on suspension. The boy was not injured.
Golden remains free while he faces charges of misdemeanor simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He did not comment while leaving court Thursday.