AMI Kids employee jailed after failing to report student’s injuries

Jarvis Delon West

PINELLAS PARK — A 28-year-old St. Petersburg man is out on bond after he was charged with failure to report child neglect in connection with injuries to a student at AMIkids, 6500 102nd Ave. N., Pinellas Park.

Jarvis Delon West, a supervisor at AMIkids, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Feb. 17. Bail was set at $55,000. He was released on surety bond the same day.

Pinellas Park police responded to All Children’s Hospital Feb. 13 after hospital staff reported that a 12-year-old boy was being treated for a skull fracture.

Detectives began an investigation and learned that the boy had reportedly been acting out during lunch on Feb. 11 and an unnamed behavioral interventionist had sent the student to the “room of opportunity” where a physical altercation took place.

Police say the boy started to vomit and may have lost consciousness more than once. The boy was left undisturbed under adult supervision for about 90 minutes.

According to the arrest affidavit, West, who was supervisor of the day, was told that the boy had been “body slammed” and needed assistance. When West made contact, the boy was crying and asking for his mother. He said his head hurt. West reportedly walked him around the building where the boy collapsed on the ground and needed help to walk to a chair.

After observing the boy for about 30 minutes, West took him to the bus and brought a trash can in case the boy had to vomit on the way.

Police say it is not normal protocol for a behavioral interventionist to ride the bus home with students. In addition, West had the bus driver stop at the home of another student to get water for the boy.

The bus driver was told to skip the student’s bus stop and drive the boy directly to his home. After making sure the boy went into his house, the bus left. West did not contact the boy’s mother.

Police say the boy was kept out of school Feb. 12 because his mother thought he was ill or had the flu. When he failed to get better the next day, she took him to All Children’s Hospital. A medical evaluation showed that he had suffered a fractured skull and had two subdural hematomas and a brain bleed.

Police say all of the boy’s injuries are believed to be a result of the physical altercation in the “room of opportunity.”

Investigators say the behavioral interventionist said he had attempted to “take the student down” using an “arm-bar;” however, the student was slammed on his head. Police noted that the behavioral interventionist is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 300 pounds. The student weighs about 100 pounds.

West was arrested on Feb. 17. Police say he was the supervisor that day and had been told that force had been used against the student by a co-worker. West failed to provide medical attention or report abuse or neglect as required by state statute.

Police are continuing to investigate and say more arrests are expected.

A second arrest was made Feb. 21. Pinellas Park police say Dontae Antonio Thomas, 34, of Ruskin turned himself in at the Hillsborough County Jail. He was charged with aggravated child abuse, which is a first degree felony. Bail was set at $150,000.

Revised to report the second arrest.