Two students appeared to smash their heads together as a Marine tackled them to the ground to stop a schoolyard fight.
The incident took place at Edison High School in Stockton, California, last Wednesday (September 11), after the two boys began throwing punches at each other.
Footage of the incident has caused controversy after going viral on social media.
Watch the painful-looking events unfold here:
This hurts to watch. The boot PFC has been counseled on ways to intervene at the appropriate level, the Marine Corps said. https://t.co/rJiRyTElGW (Video courtesy of Marine-founded @209TimesCA.) pic.twitter.com/L0rkaxwrlN
— Chad Garland (@chadgarland) September 13, 2019
The young boys can be seen aggressively pushing each other before the 18-year-old Marine, identified as Josue Valdez Sarmiento, sprinted over from the left of the frame.
Without slowing down he tackled one of the boys from behind, causing him to fly forwards into the student he was fighting with.
The two boys’ heads appeared to smash together as they collided and fell to the ground, while onlookers could be heard expressing their shock. Sarmiento landed on top of them and looked to be holding the students down before pulling them apart.
One youngster was then picked up by another adult while the other could be seen lying on the ground.
According to Fox News, the US Marine Corps said Sarmiento is a recent graduate of the school who was there to help with recruiting, though he is not a recruiter.
Speaking to KRCA, as per Fox News, Maj. Thomas Driscoll said the Marine Corps are proud of the 18-year-old for stepping in to the situation, though they admitted he could have gone about it in a different way.
He saw a dangerous fight break out. Upon observing that situation, he moved over and broke up the fight.
Although, the manner in which he did [could] have been improved, we are proud of Pfc. Valdez Sarmiento for his decision to intervene.
The condition of the students has not been released but the school district has said it is aware of the incident.
In a statement, they said:
Stockton Unified is aware of the student matter that took place on [Wednesday] at Edison High School and the recording circulating on social media. We are actively investigating the situation.
The footage was first shared online by 209 Times, who said the Marine ‘ran full-speed from over 30 yards out’ after the students had been fighting for ‘over a minute uninterrupted in the open.’
Sarmiento’s response has been met with mixed opinions, with one student saying the tackle was ‘too excessive’ while a parent said the action was justified.
I am PROUD AND GRATEFUL FOR THIS YOUNG MAN and other young people *LIKE HIM*.
This young 18-year old Marine, Josue Valdez Sarmiento, *SHOULD* BE COMMENDED for stepping up.
NOT disciplined, counseled and given desk duty by the Marine Corps he loves and is so proud to serve.
— 🇺🇸☘️Spitfire ☘️🇺🇸 (@One_Spitfire) September 15, 2019
Speaking to Fox News, the parent commented:
It could have been a little less of a tackle, but I believe in discipline. These kids were not behaving. Someone’s got to stop it.
Sarmiento has reportedly received counselling and been reassigned to office duties in the wake of the events, while the school and Stockton Police Department are investigating the incident.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.