AMI Kids suspending operations in Pinellas after child slammed on ground suffers fractured skull

Pinellas County

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side has confirmed AMI Kids School in Pinellas Park is no longer part of Pinellas County Schools and is suspending its operations in Pinellas County.

This comes on the heels of an altercation between a 12-year-old and staff member left the student with a fractured skull. A Pinellas Park Police spokesman tells us the boy with the fractured skull has been released from the hospital.

A spokesperson for the Pinellas County School Board says the district decided to end its partnership with AMI Kids after the incident. Pinellas County Schools is the only source of students for the AMI Kids location in Pinellas Park, a school official confirms.

An AMI Kids spokesperson later released a statement saying it was suspending operations in Pinellas County.

The statement reads:

“As our first priority is the safety and well-being of the youth we serve, and in cooperation with our partners at Pinellas County School District and Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, AMIkids Pinellas will suspend all services to youth until further notice effective end of business, Friday, February 21st.

All youth currently enrolled at AMIkids Pinellas have been reassigned to their appropriate home schools via notice by the Pinellas County School District.

We will continue to fully cooperate with the Pinellas Park Police Department and Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in their investigations into the incident, as well as continue to finalize our own internal investigation.

No matter the outcome of these investigations, upon initial review, it appears that protocols and procedures were not adhered to, potentially endangering the health of a young man in our care.

Once investigations of the incident are complete, we will partner with law enforcement, DJJ and the school district to review fully all of our internal guidelines and protocols at all of our programs in the 10 states we serve and make any necessary changes ensuring the safety of our youth.”

All Pinellas County Schools children who are current students at AMI will be able to choose a Pinellas County to transfer to.

“The first option is to have the students attend Pinellas Secondary School beginning on Monday, Feb. 24,” an email from the spokesperson says. “Pinellas Secondary most closely models the program that AMI Kids follows, and provides a structured environment focused on academics, accountability, attitude, and attendance.”

If parents don’t want to send their children to Pinellas Secondary, the spokesperson says seats will be offered at Disston Academy or Clearwater Intermediate School.

Bus transportation will be available immediately, starting Monday morning, for students who choose Pinellas Secondary School. Bus service will not automatically be provided to the other two schools.

“Routes will have to be examined, and if busing can be arranged, it will take several days to put into place,” the district spokesperson says.

An AMI Kids spokesperson had previously confirmed the Department of Juvenile Justice stopped student admissions into the school while the investigation into the altercation continued.

8 On Your Side spoke with a St. Petersburg mother whose son was on the bus with the 12-year-old last week. She said her son got home an hour late from school that day due to the other student throwing up and the bus having to make extra stops to take care of the sick child.

This mother also said her son was stabbed with a pencil last week and she was upset about how the school handled the situation. She says at first they would not allow him to call his mom because they didn’t want to bother her at work. She tells 8 On Your Side that her son had to beg the staff to let him make the call about the injury. We spoke with the AMI Kids School spokesman who says the parent was notified and the proper procedure was followed.

This mother is very frustrated with AMI Kids and said due to poor communication from staff, she just pulled her student out of the program on Monday. 

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