A California teacher has been suspended after being caught on video brawling with one of his students in a classroom.
The video captured science teacher and wrestling coach Mark Black in a physical altercation with an unnamed student in front of several other students in his classroom. Though it’s unclear exactly how the fight began, students told reporters that the teen was selling drugs in the classroom.
Kylan Townsend, a student in Black’s class, told reporters that “The little boy was selling drugs in class. The wrestling coach told him to stop… I guess he didn’t listen and tables were thrown. They started fighting.”
Santa Monica Superintendent Sandra Lyon says “I can tell you what I witnessed in one of those videos is utterly alarming.” She went on to note that although no one was seriously injured, “that neither dismisses the severity of this situation nor my commitment to gather all the facts and make sure proper actions are taken.”
Her statement went on to say “Until the investigation is complete, we will not have all the details that led up to this incident; nevertheless, based on what I have viewed, the kind of physical restraint used by the teacher is unacceptable.”
Skipp Townsend, a parent of a student at Santa Monica High School, told media that “As a parent I understand the frustration of the teacher… but I don’t believe he handled it the right way.”
A petition has been started in support of Black, saying “Mark Black, longtime science teacher and wrestling coach at Santa Monica High School, was attacked on the morning of April 4, 2014. Mr. Black, a wrestling coach with over 30 years experience, placed the student in a restraint hold to stop the student from further attacking him. This was in an effort to get the situation under control.”
Tanja Elliott, a parent of one of Black’s wrestling students, wrote on the petition “Mark Black is an incredible man, coach, and mentor who has helped shape my son, and countless students, into incredible loving, responsible young adults.”