A fight caught on video between a teacher and high school student has become a media sensation and caused an uproar in the community.
The video allegedly shows Santa Monica High School wrestling coach and science teacher Mark Black physically restraining a student who supposedly was caught selling marijuana in his classroom.
Students who witnessed the incident said that it began when Black tried to confiscate a bag of cannabis from the teenager who reportedly then stabbed Black with a pencil, reports the Daily News.
Neither Black nor the student threw punches, and the video shows Black eventually with his arms locked around the student’s legs, on the floor.
The student was arrested; Black has been placed on leave pending an investigation.
A letter sent home to parents by Black’s boss has caused an uproar.
Sandra Lyon, superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, wrote in the letter that “a number of videos capturing at least a portion of the incident are circulating, and I can tell you that what I witnessed on one of those videos is utterly alarming.”
She also wrote that the “physical restraint” used by the teacher was “unacceptable.”
Many people disagree.
“In matters of self-defense, or matters involving harm to other students, I think it’s reasonable for teachers to use physical force to restrain students,” Oscar De La Torre, an SMMUSD school board member told KTLA. He said that if Black had wanted to, “he could’ve hurt that student. I call it really restrained intervention on his part.”
A Facebook page supporting Coach Black was created; it had over 2,500 “likes” in a half a day and has now surpassed 6,500. Many commenters on the page have shown their support for the teacher.
“Terrible job by the superintendent making statements without full knowledge of the situation ... poor leadership and not very supportive of her teachers,” wrote John S. Dahlem, a teacher in Orange County who grew up in Santa Monica. “The superintendent needs to read the Education Code on reasonable restraint and the rights of teachers to defend themselves when being attacked, stabbed with a pencil, etc.”
In response to the uproar caused by her first letter, Lyon sent another addressed to the community.
“There is concern that my statement reflected a pre-judgement of the the teacher’s conduct prior to completion of an investigation,” Superintendent Lyon wrote. “There is also concern about my failure to address the conduct of one or more students who were involved in the incident. In retrospect, I understand how my statement created those concerns. I apologize that my comments focuses solely on the message that teachers should not physically engage when disciplining students or intervening without underscoring that we need to obtain all the details leading up to this situation before we reach conclusions.”
A petition has been created by alumni Timothy Conley to reinstate Coach Black. It currently has 1,136 supporters.
Amazing Johnson, 6, severed the top of her finger when it was accidentally caught in a door at school. Instead of calling 911, school officials only called her parents.
Latesha Coleman, Amazing's mother, received a call from Hughes Road Elementary administrators about her daughter's injury, but tells KRIV Fox 26 they downplayed just how severe the injury was. Coleman was told the "nurse was working with Amazing, that Amazing was fine...She's being loved on by the nurse."
Emergency medical help was not called, even as it became clear that Amazing was missing a piece of her finger.
In a prepared statement, Dickinson I.S.D. confirms Amazing lost the tip of her finger and that her parents were called to take her to the hospital. Had they not been able to reach Amazing's parents or if it were a life-threatening incident, 911 would have been called, Yahoo News reports.
Latesha Coleman arrived at the hospital where Amazing had been taken by her father to find him holding a bag, "and he had the tip of her pinky in the bag.”
Doctors were able to reattach Amazing's fingertip, but that does not dismiss the negligence Latesha Coleman feels the school displayed during the incident. She told KRIV Fox 26 that she spoke with the school's principal and asked, "Why didn't you call 911?" The response, "She didn't feel like it was an emergency." Coleman continues, "How is this not an emergency and her finger is in a bag...I'm thinking maybe a child has to be dead and that's the only way to call 911."
Other school districts in the area (Aldine ISD, Klein ISD, and Fort Bend ISD) reported to KRIV Fox 26 that 911 is called only at the discretion of the school nurse. If an event is believed to be a medical emergency 911 will be called, otherwise the child's parents are contacted.
A 9-year-old boy in Michigan has been suspended indefinitely for bringing a toy that looks like a gun to school.
Gage, a student at the Creative Montessori Academy in Southgate, reportedly brought the toy to school, showed it to his friends before class, and pointed it at a friend while saying “bang, bang.”
Gage’s parents allege that the toy didn’t even resemble a firearm, but it was merely a spinning top that he brought to school to show his friends. Also, the other students involved say that Gage never actually said “bang, bang,” and that the teacher who reported the incident was wrong.
The parents say that their son suffers from epilepsy, and that he needs to be in school in order fully comprehend reading and writing. They say the indefinite suspension is not conducive to Gage’s education and continued progression.
“They’re kids, they have imaginations,” said Gage’s father Jonathan Duff. “It doesn’t look like a gun.”
Officials at the Creative Montessori Academy, however, are claiming that the parents’ story is not entirely true. They say that the toy did in fact resemble a gun, and they have the pictures to prove it. They say the toy shown in the Fox 2 news report video is not the toy that was used on the day of the incident, adding that their zero tolerance policy for this sort of thing is upheld.
“The actual toy did actually resemble a gun,” said Tonya Holcomb, chief communications director for Choice Schools Associate. “This is a case of a look-alike weapon reported to be used as a toy gun.”
The school also claims that the boy was only suspended for one day, so the parents’ claim that he is suspended indefinitely is also false.
You can see the original Fox 2 news report below.