DA opts not to charge educators accused of assaulting students

April 19, 2018

Administrator Russ Griffith with a student whose face has been concealed to protect his privacy.

Two Central Coast educators who were accused of battering students have evaded charges following a conclusion by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office that the crime of battery could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in either case. [Cal Coast Times]

One of the two school officials, Mission Prep administrator Russ Griffith, was photographed during a school lunch placing a student in a chokehold. The other educator, an Atascadero High teacher and coach, allegedly assaulted a student who was misbehaving in class.

Last November, Griffith, a former San Luis Obispo police officer, restrained a star of the Mission Prep football team in a carotid chokehold, a move generally used by law enforcement to restrain violent or combative individuals. Griffith allegedly placed the Mission Prep football player in the chokehold in response to the student using profanity.

The student did not suffer injuries during the alleged assault. San Luis Obispo police investigated the incident and forwarded a report to the district attorney’s office.

Griffith went on and off administrative leave from Mission Prep in the weeks following the incident.

Fewer details have emerged in the case of Christopher Ferree, who has coached wrestling and other sports at Atascadero High, in addition to teaching. No photos or video footage of Feree’s alleged classroom altercation have surfaced publicly.

As SLO police did with the Mission Prep case, Atascadero police investigated the alleged assault and forwarded a report to the district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors reviewed both cases concurrently because they both involved alleged misconduct by a school official in response to perceived student misbehavior, the district attorney’s office stated in a news release. Over the course of the investigation, prosecutors interviewed students and faculty, reviewed documents and conducted legal research.

The district attorney’s office opted not to file charges against Griffith or Ferree, at least in part, because witnesses provided conflicting accounts of the nature and the extent of force that the educators used. Witnesses also provided conflicting accounts of the student conduct that initiated the incidents, according to the district attorney’s office.

Additionally, California Education Code allows a school official to use physical control over a student in an amount “reasonably necessary to maintain order” or to “maintain proper and appropriate conditions conducive to learning.” The code serves as a defense against a battery charge, the DA’s Office said.

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As an educator for over 30 years, I have seen the despicable down turn our schools have taken. The students have no manners, respect nor a clue how to behave. Sad to say, these are our leaders of tomorrow. Parents have no control and now the schools have opted to let the control go to the adolescents and teens. So no education for these kids and a sad future for our society.

It’s an insult to real educators to call this guy one.

Welcome to another episode of stupid and ridiculous comments courtesy of “copperhead” and George Bailey.

Good for Russ. He wasn’t even squeezing hard enough for the kid to drop his phone (see his right hand in the picture). If more people were put in a rear naked choke every time they acted like an asshole, the world would be a better place.

If you have witnessed how many young people act these days, I have no problem with school employees using some reasonable force to maintain order in our public schools.

Many school administrators have lost control of their schools because they are too timid or politically correct to stop the out-of-control criminal types from ruining learning at our public schools, and taxpayers deserve good discipline for the kids interested in learning.


Amen George, as long as nobody puts their hands on my kids!