A Santa Monica High School fight between a student and teacher last week has resulted in the arrest of two students and police are seeking battery charges against both students, The Los Angeles Times reported on April 7.
While police have not revealed the name of the student who is 16, the 18-year-old was identified as Blair Moore, jail records indicate.
According to Jay Moroso, a Santa Monica Police Department sergeant, detectives charged Moore with suspicion of threatening a school official; battery against a school employee; possession of a weapon – a box cutter – on a school campus; and possession of marijuana on school grounds.
The unidentified teen faces a charge of battery on a school employee.
The Santa Monica High School fight was captured on video and the footage shows teacher Mark Black, who is also the wrestling coach, pinning a student to the ground. According to students who witnessed the incident, Black was trying to confiscate something drug-related from the student shortly before the altercation began.
The video, recorded by other students, shows how Black struggles with the student until he knocked him to the floor and grabbed his legs.
Students and teachers have expressed support for the teacher after District Superintendent Sandra Lyon condemned the incident, calling it "utterly alarming." She also placed the teacher on leave while the investigation takes place.
"I want to stress that teachers are at times confronted with difficult, even threatening, situations, and they must make judgment calls to protect safety," Lyon told local news outlets.
She also clarified that placing Black on leave is standard policy for the district.
"It in no way prejudices the outcome of the investigation," she explained.
Upset parents sent hundreds of letters to the school board in support of the popular teacher and many viewed Black's actions as an act of bravery.
After widespread protest, Lyon issued a second statement over the weekend, acknowledging that her remarks about Black had "caused great anger" and apologizing to the community, The LA Times reported.
Besides a Facebook page in support of Black that has accumulated over 11,500 'Likes' in three days, a Change.org petition for the teacher to return to school was also created by Daniel Jacobs, a 1999 Santa Monica High School graduate. Jacobs demands that Lyon issue an official apology for the comments she made after the fight went viral.
He also stated that when he watched the video footage, he immediately saw Black's actions as "trying to neutralize a threat."
What's your opinion of the Santa Monica High School fight? Did the teacher go too far?