NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Kids in chaos – that’s how staff members described an alleged fight at a Norfolk behavioral health center that they claim left employees injured.
We’re told police and EMS responded.
10 On Your Side spoke with an employee who was there when the whole thing broke out.
The incident happened Sunday night at the Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health. The center treats children and teens with behavioral and/or mental health concerns.
The center confirmed police were called to help manage what they say was a disruption.
Staff members told us what happened may have been planned by the patients.
“It just got out of hand so fast,” an employee said.
The staff member we spoke to by phone wanted to conceal their identity out of fear of losing their job, but they said the incident at the Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health escalated quickly Sunday night.
“It was just like a corral, like the kids were everywhere. The staff was everywhere. Everyone was just everywhere. It was just wild,” they said.
The employee said it all started in a hallway when staff members tried to put an aggressive patient in a hold.
“The kids, I guess they realized the staff was outnumbered so they made their attempt to attack the staff,” they said. “One of the staff got a hole puncher thrown at her.”
The employee said the situation finally got under control once officers arrived, but it took some time. The employee said a patient who was detained made a disturbing comment.
“I overheard one of the kids saying this was being planned all week,” the employee said.
In an emailed statement, health center administration confirmed an incident saying “certain patients collaborated in carrying out a disturbance at the facility on Sunday evening. No patients were injured.”
According to the employee, at least two staff members went to the hospital, one allegedly with a broken bone.
We asked about those injuries. The health center said “several employees sustained minor injuries but do not require further medical attention at this time.”
One day after the event, the employee said what happened could have been prevented, claiming the center is routinely understaffed.
“They just waited for the perfect time, you know? It’s just an unsafe environment for staff, very unsafe,” the employee said.
The center said the facility was appropriately staffed during the incident.
10 On Your Side asked what the standard staff-to-patient ratio is and how many employees were on staff Sunday night. We didn’t get an answer,
The center did say it’s conducting an internal review of the situation.