Target: Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia
Goal: Fire officer guilty of beating student
In the middle of the 2009-2010 school year Officer Aaron Branson, a School District of Philadelphia cop, was summarily dismissed from his job for brutally beating Jeffione Thomas, a student who was late for class. Although Thomas was originally charged with attacking Branson and one other officer, those charges were quickly dropped. Thomas suffered various facial lacerations, a black eye, broken blood vessels, and dental damage; he was awarded a six-figure settlement for his suffering.
Aaron Branson has not stopped working around children. He was employed as an administrator at a charter school for some time and recently got his job as a school cop back. Branson, who was caught on tape savagely attacking a student, is once again a school police officer. Aaron Branson has already proven that he cannot be trusted to have authority over children; he is an abusive bully who is willing to beat a young man about the head and face for something as petty s being late to school.
No one has ever alleged that Jeffione Thomas was an angel—he was a troubled student with anger management issues (which he is now receiving help for), but that is no excuse for him to have been beaten. Officer Branson’s actions were illegal, unconstitutional, and disgusting. His actions sow distrust towards law enforcement officers and perpetuate the view that authority figures are violent and corrupt. Branson violated the trust that society puts in police officers and puts the position to shame.
There must be others who are qualified for Branson’s job, people who do not have a history of abusing power and abusing students. As a police officer Branson was expected to obey and enforce the law, and to protect the students at the school he was posted at. Aaron Branson failed spectacularly in this regard, and the fact that he is once again employed in the same role is shameful. Tell the School District of Philadelphia that he must be once again dismissed and a more suitable candidate must be found to replace him.
Dear Superintendent Hite,
In 2009 Aaron Branson was fired from his job as a school police officer after beating a student at Frankford High School. Recently he was hired to work the same job at Furness High School, also in your district. It is truly absurd that Branson has been rehired by the School District of Philadelphia.
In October of 2009 Aaron Branson savagely beat Jeffione Thomas, a 17-year-old student-athlete who arrived several minutes late to school. A security camera captured Branson kicking and punching Thomas, resulting in a black eye and tooth damage, among other injuries. The act cost Branson his job, and for good reason; it is absolutely inexcusable for a law enforcement officer to be abusive to anyone, let alone a teenager. Police officers are given the ability to use force with the expectation that they will only use it when absolutely necessary. It was not necessary when Officer Branson put the boots to Jeffione Thomas.
Aaron Branson made it clear that he should not be allowed to work around children when he beat Thomas. The fact that the very same school district that fired him rehired him is deplorable and reflects poorly upon the School District of Philadelphia. Aaron Branson brought shame to your school district and to every honest and above board law enforcement officer. He should not have been rehired, Dr. Hite. Fix the mistake that is Aaron Branson, please remove him from his position and find a candidate that can fulfill the duty in a more becoming manner.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: www.phila.k12.pa.us