Video: Santa Monica High School Wrestling Coach Fights And Pins Student In Classroom
A Santa Monica High School teacher has been caught on video getting into a physical altercation with one of the students in his classroom.
Eyewitnesses say science teacher Mark Black was trying to confiscate a student’s marijuana when the student got physical, CBS reports. That led to an all-out brawl, in which the teacher, who is also a wrestling coach for the school, pinned the student down.
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District superintendent Sandra Lyon in an email to parents said that the Santa Monica Police Department had to be called in, and police are still investigating the incident. After viewing student cellphone video capturing the incident, Lyon called the incident “deeply disturbing” and said Black has been placed on leave:
“Based on what I have viewed, the kind of physical restraint used by the teacher is unacceptable. I have placed the teacher on leave pending the outcome of an independent investigation.”
One student says the student attacked Black with a pencil:
“I saw one of the teachers kinda holding onto the student in a lock and the student had a pencil and was going at the teacher with it,” junior Daniella Melamed said.
Another student defended Black’s actions, according to ABC7:
"I believe the teacher is being wrongly accused of being aggressive to the student. He was just acting in self-defense," said one student.
Watch cellphone video of the incident below:
Update: Parents have been coming to the defense of the teacher. According to district school board member Oscar de la Torre, many parents were angered by superintendent Lyon's tone, saying that letters to the board “overwhelmingly supported the teacher’s action,” according to the Los Angeles Times. He said the incident is indicative of a “drug problem” on campus that must be addressed. A "We Support Coach Black of Samohi" Facebook page had more than 3,000 likes as of 4:15 p.m. Saturday.