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Athens family seeks support after child’s chokehold incident with teacher

Jaden Barnett

By Mokah Jasmine Johnson

On November 30th, 2023, life drastically changed for 13-year old Jaden Barnett after he was placed in a chokehold by his teacher, Brockton Tatum, at W.R. Coile Middle School. His family is asking for community support to ensure that this teacher is held fully accountable in addition to demanding that school officials improve their communication, and provide a stronger academic and emotional support system for students who have been harmed at school, whether by their teacher or peers. 

Jaden Barnett was choked by his teacher, Mr. Tatum, in front of the entire algebra class at W.R. Coile Middle School. Jaden said that “he saw black spots while being choked.” Allegedly an  assisting teacher was in the classroom shouted at Mr. Tatum to stop. The assistant teacher ran to the principal’s office to alert the administration and Mr. Tatum was instructed to leave. After the Barnett family filed an official police report, Mr. Tatum was arrested. The Barnett family are concerned that this teacher will not be held fully accountable by CCSD for hurting Jaden. 

Jaden said he was “caught off guard when a verbal argument between him and another student ended with the arms of a teacher (who he once trusted) wrapped around his neck.” “I was like I can’t breathe.” Early December 2023, the story aired on Channel 2. (Click here for the Channel 2 news story). 

Since this altercation occurred, Jaden has been at home trying to keep up with his schoolwork until recently. His mother Porcha Barnet requested for online schooling support (or) for Jayden to be transferred to another school. CCSD administrators couldn’t accommodate either option and he was officially withdrawn from school as of March  2024. “My grandson did not ask for this… He is traumatized from this experience and no one seems to care. His mother, my grandson, and I have cried over this situation and are not sure why we can not get proper assistance from CCSD” said Jaden’s grandmother. The Barnett family are frustrated and disappointed by the lack of support from CCSD. The family may have to move outside of Athens so that Jaden can get back into school.

In addition, after Barnett's family filed an official police report, Mr. Tatum was arrested but they’re still concerned that he will not be held accountable for hurting Jaden.  School officials did not keep the family informed on the final out regarding Mr.Tatum disciplinary actions. 

The Barnett family is seeking justice for Jaden, demanding proper communication, and academic support from CCSD. Jaden has been withdrawn from school because of this incident and the Barnett Family is seeking alternatives to ensure he receives a proper education. 

The AADM (Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement) is currently working with the family to find Jaden a new school home. To show your support and to help the AADM demand justice for Jaden please visit www.aadmovement.org/justice-for-jaden-barnett-athens-teacher-put-student-in-a-chokehold/ .

Mokah Jasmine Johnson is co-founder and CEO of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement.


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7 Comments


We don't know the whole story. But I'll agree with two truths.... 1) Students should not be assaulted.... 2) Our students are totally out of control. So, somewhere between these two points stands the truth. I fear that it was a combination of both. I also feel that this young man has plenty of opportunities to go back to his original school without fear of further violence, if the parents were willing to try.

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I'm sure there was a lot more to this story than the teacher simply coming up to this kid and throwing him in a chokehold because of a verbal argument. I wasn't there so I can't give any type of proper opinion, but in general, our teachers have been abused and used as physical and verbal punching bags for far too long by these so called "kids" raised on violence from grand theft auto video games and just a general environment and attitude i've instilling in the youth to have total disrespect for any type of authority and where "they "always come first!!. A lot of them are stone cold already and have no problem challenging or attacking.

So yes,…

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Grandma just won the lawsuit lottery.

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True!

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