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Admissions halted at AMIkids Pinellas after staffer slammed boy and failed to report it

The Department of Juvenile Justice said it will be conducting an investigation into the program.
Jarvis Delon West was arrested for child neglect after failing to report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

After a 12-year-old suffered a brain bleed from being thrown to the ground by a school staffer three times his size, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has frozen admissions at AMIkids Pinellas.

The school, at 6500 102nd Ave. N, contracts with the department to serve at-risk youth.

Department Secretary Simone Marstiller wrote in a statement that after Pinellas Park police conclude their investigation, the Inspector General’s Office will conduct an investigation. AMIkids Inc. also said it is conducting an internal investigation and that anyone involved has been suspended.

Related: Body-slammed by school staffer, Pinellas boy suffered brain bleed and neglect, police say

“The top priority of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is the safety of the youth in our facilities and programs, and we do not tolerate youth being harmed by those responsible for their care," Marstiller wrote.

Marstiller said the department will determine what policies and procedures were not followed and will take “swift and appropriate action.”

AMIkids Pinellas employee Jarvis Delon West was arrested on felony charges of failure to report child neglect and neglect of a child resulting in great bodily harm. He has posted bail and was released from jail.

West failed to call police after another staffer hoisted a 12-year-old up at the waist and brought him down to the ground, causing the 12-year-old to hit his head, according to the Pinellas Park Police Department.

Even as the boy cried, vomited and lost consciousness, police say West watched and failed to provide medical assistance or tell the boy’s mother.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the boy was in serious but stable condition at the hospital. He was diagnosed with a brain bleed, a skull fracture and two hematomas, according to police.

The staffer who police say was physical with the student has not been arrested, according to police, but he has been identified.

AMIkids is a nonprofit focusing on at-risk youth that has 22 locations in Florida. The Pinellas Park location is for boys ages 11 to 15. Students are referred from Pinellas County Schools, parents and child services agents, according to the Pinellas County Schools website.

The company has run into issues nationwide. Locally, a director of AMIkids Tampa was arrested in 2012 for head-butting a student. In 2016, Pasco County Schools ended a contract with AMIkids over money issues and concerns that safety needs weren’t being met.

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