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Probation Camp Sub OK'd Classroom Gang Fights, Set 'ground rules'

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Yesterday morning, detectives from the Special Victims Bureau of the LA County Sheriff's Department arrested 44-year-old Stephen Wesley on charges of child endangerment. Wesley worked for the LA County Office of Education as a substitute teacher in the summer of 2008 at their Camp Holton Probabtion Facility when his class began a discussion about gangs. What the LASD took issue with, however, was the fact that once a fight broke out in the classroom between two students, Wesley permitted them to conduct a physical fight in the classroom, and throughout the same day, allowed four more fights to take place under his supervision. In fact, his supervision of their physical contact was so pronounced that Wesley established what an LASD press release calls "ground rules" for the fights, including "advising the minors not to hit in the face, as that would leave obvious injuries." Wesley also set time limits and an area of the classroom for the fights, all of which were captured on an audio recording.

Participating in the fights were six minors who belonged to rival gangs; some of the participants engaged in more than one fight during the day. Wesley has been charged with six counts of child endangerment.