An AMIkids Beaufort staff member has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation of a reported assault on a child, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and a statement from the organization.
AMIkids is a national nonprofit that works with at-risk youths on education and behavior, according to its website. The S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice refers young men to the Beaufort program.
"AMIkids Beaufort does not tolerate any behaviors that cause harm to our students," said a statement released Sunday. "We take any allegations of such behaviors seriously. Our top priority is the safety of our kids, our team and our community, and all actions we take are to help kids successfully transform their lives."
The assault reportedly happened about 7:30 a.m. Friday at the organization's facility on Honeybee Island Road in Seabrook, according to a Sheriff's Office incident report. Names and identifying information about the staff member and the victim were redacted from the report.
According to the report, an emergency room nurse at Beaufort Memorial Hospital contacted the Sheriff's Office on Friday to say she was treating a male juvenile who had been brought in by AMIkids staff members. The boy was complaining of jaw pain after being struck by a staff member's elbow. The nurse said she saw a small cut on the boy's inner lip.
The victim told deputies that he had gotten milk while in the breakfast line at the facility and a staff member told him to put the milk back, according to the incident report. The boy kept the milk and went to drink it when the staff member slapped him in the face, knocking the milk out of of his hand.
Either the staff member or the boy -- the names are redacted and therefore unclear -- dumped his food tray over the other person, tackled him to the ground, put his hands around his throat and pinned him to the ground by jamming an elbow into a jaw.
An AMIkids staff member contacted by deputies had no information about the incident, but said the Department of Juvenile Justice would be notified.
"Staff members are trained in Crisis Prevention Institute's Non-Violent Crisis Intervention techniques to help prevent escalation of incidents and for the safety of both students and staff," AMIkids said in its statement.
"In addition to fully cooperating with local law enforcement and any external investigations, AMIkids will also conduct an internal investigation," the statement said.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.