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Absegami student injured by security guard breaking up fight, father claims

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The father of an Absegami High School student is filing charges after he says a security guard injured his daughter during a fight at the school Wednesday morning.

Two Instagram videos drew attention to the incident, showing a fight between girls in the middle of the cafeteria. Another shows a separate fight being broken up and includes the guard appearing to throw the daughter to the ground.

The incident is being investigated, Superintendent James Reina confirmed to BreakingAC.

"We always work to ensure student and staff safety," he said in a written statement to this publication.

"But given the confidentiality required with employees and students, we are not able to share specifics with the press," he continued. "Recognizing that, I will add there are additional facts and/or different information to some of what is being presented in the community."

But Shiloh Pressley said he fears the school is trying to coverup what happened to his daughter. He is filing a complaint with police against the security guard shown taking his daughter to the ground in one of the videos.

Sources have identified the guard as retired Galloway Police Chief Pat Moran.

Tiana Pressley, 15, said she was trying to get one student off another when Moran came up and grabbed her from behind.

"A girl was getting beat up," she told BreakingAC after returning home from the hospital. "Out of nowhere, this security guard comes and he just picks me up and throws me to the ground."

The video of Pressley begins with Moran's arms already around her as he pushes her away from what appears to be an ongoing fight. Another staff member pushes against Moran as he tries to get to the students at his feet.

Two videos were posted to the Instagram gamifights shortly after the incident. One shows a fight that does not include Pressley. The other shows part of the interaction with the security guard, identified by sources as retired Galloway Police Chief Pat Moran.

Both have since been deleted.

BreakingAC has confirmed there are cameras in the cafeteria. That footage will likely be used in the investigation.

In the first Instagram video, a girl with long hair is on top of someone hitting them. Another girl takes a couple of punches at the person on the ground before another student pulls her back.

The same two girls are in the video showing Pressley.

The one who is on top of the student in the first video steps over to where the students are on the ground and throws a couple punches before stepping back. A staff member then intervenes.

Pressley steps one leg onto a chair as she is pushed toward it, and then almost climbs the wall before the guard lifts her up and she's taken to the ground.

"Then he pulled me back, telling me I was resisting," she said.

She said she felt nauseated after that, and her "teeth shifted."

Pressley said she was still dizzy and in pain after returning from the hospital.

Shiloh Pressley said Assistant Principal Brian Aron hung up on him after the father refused to talk to his daughter on speaker.

Tiana said Aron laughed after hanging up on her father, and asked why she was worried about the other student, who was a freshman.

Absegami Principal Dan Kern referred any comment to the superintendent of Greater Egg Harbor Township, which includes Absegami, Oakcrest and Cedar Creek high schools.

Reina said he could not comment beyond his statement.

Pressley, a sophomore at the school, is a straight A student who has never been in trouble, her father said.

Her older sister, a senior there, was jumped twice this past year, and was also sprayed with mace, their father said.

Shiloh Pressley said he didn't pursue charges after his older daughter was injured by the spray after he says the administration promised him the offending student had signed a "cease and desist" in the incident.

The December incident led to a shelter-in-place that was reported by BreakingAC at the time.

He said that bullying is why Tiana came to the other student's aid during Wednesday's fight.

"I'm proud of her," he said.

But now the girl said she is afraid to return to school both because of the students and the staff.

A copy of her papers from AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's Mainland Campus on Wednesday shows her diagnosis as a closed-head injury and facial pain

Shiloh Pressley claims racism is behind much of what happens at the school. The Pressleys are black.


Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Sunday, June 16, 2024
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