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News, Samohi, Santa Monica

Santa Monica High Teacher Placed On Leave After Fight With Student

Posted Apr. 4, 2014, 7:17 pm

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

A Santa Monica High School teacher has been placed on leave and an investigation is under way following a physical altercation with a student inside a classroom on Friday.

In an email obtained by The Mirror, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District superintendent Sandra Lyon wrote to parents at 3:30 pm, saying officers of the Santa Monica Police Department were called to the campus regarding the incident.

Lyon said a number of videos capturing at least a portion of the incident were circulating.

“I can tell you that what I witnessed on one of those videos is utterly alarming,” Lyon said. “We have been in contact with the student’s family, and we will work with them to offer the support that they may need.”

Lyon said there was no reported serious physical harm to students or teachers, but that neither dismissed the severity of this situation nor her commitment to gather all the facts and make sure the proper actions are taken.

“Until the investigation is complete, we will not have all the details that led up to this incident; nevertheless, based on the what I have viewed, the kind of physical restraint used by the teacher is unacceptable,” Lyon said. “I have placed the teacher on leave pending the outcome of an independent investigation.”

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Apr. 4, 2014, 7:35:04 pm

Nana said...

Drugs is everywhere in SAMOHI The brave teacher was trying to do what no teacher ever trued to which is trying to prevent the boy from selling the drugs. The boy got physical and the teacher held him and asked the kids to call security. The teacher is a hero!!

Apr. 4, 2014, 7:50:00 pm

anonymous said...

I'll tell you what happened. The guy the teacher was wrestling with was a guy called student 1. (No one has given me his last name.) What the videos didn't show was that they didn't just start fighting out of no where. Now see, allegedly, student 1 is a drug dealer. When the first bell rang but before the second, blaire and several other students were outside. The teacher saw student 1 distributing, and said "Put it away and come inside." student 1 did so. After the second bell rang, student 1 went outside and distributed marijuana. The teacher asked again, for student 1 to put it away and come inside. Student 1 did so. A third time, later in the period, student 1 went outside again, and distributed marijuana. Fed up, the tacher grabbed the student BY THE BACKPACK, and dragged him inside the classroom. This is very important, he did not touch the student, he was only touching his backpack. While doing so, he said that he was calling security. At this point student 1 began beggin the teacher not to call security. When the teacher refused, thats when punches started being thrown. Not by the teacher. While the teacher was being attacked, he got the student into various holds and pins. The hold shown in the video, he drops the student ON HIS BACK. If he had dropped him on his knees, he could have ruined the athlete's career. If he dropped him on the neck, he could have been seriously injured. On his back, all he got was a hard knock. After the video shown ended, but before security showed up., at some point the teacher received several gashes from a pencil the student used against him. Finally, the teacher had the student in a headlock, and the situation seemed to be resolved. This is where student 2 enters, and attacks the teacher. The teacher, caught off guard, is knocked out. He dropped like a rock. Student 1

Apr. 4, 2014, 7:52:02 pm

Nana said...

My sons tell me stories everyday about witnessing selling and using marijuana in the school and no action is taken by any of the teachers or the administrations. Now the district blames the teacher who acted ethically trying to stop drug dealing in school fearing harming the school reputation when the news spread. The boy who was held by the teacher managed to escape later after his friends attacked the teacher. You blame the teacher for trying to prevent a crime. If cups were there they would have dealt with the boy the same way. Look at the deep meaning behind what happened and don't be superficial. The teacher is the victim and I am really proud that finally somebody stopped the ridiculous daily routine that takes place in this same school everyday.

Apr. 4, 2014, 8:16:43 pm

Brian said...

From the video I saw, the teacher used commendable restraint. Hopefully the district will take swift action and expell the unnamed student, showing that it is unacceptable to attack teachers.

Apr. 4, 2014, 8:16:43 pm

Brian said...

From the video I saw, the teacher used commendable restraint. Hopefully the district will take swift action and expell the unnamed student, showing that it is unacceptable to attack teachers.

Apr. 4, 2014, 10:16:39 pm

Tom said...

Ms. Lyon should be short for SMM - USD.

Apr. 4, 2014, 10:38:38 pm

Tom said...

Ms Lyon should be suspended for not providing a safe school for the students and safe workplace for the great teachers. Slanderous and reactionary comments are unacceptable from someone in her position.

Apr. 4, 2014, 10:47:16 pm

ScienceRules said...

Mr. Black is one of the coolest people on earth, and one of the most awesome coaches ever. Obviously when he sees this kid selling drugs he's going to intervene like any other responsible teacher/adult etc. Now obviously this video doesn't show all the information that actually took place. To be completely honest Mr. Black never actually swung or/try to physically harm this kid, he was just trying to restrain him, and ultimately defend himself, which is understandable when in the presence of a "drug dealer". I do not think that Black should've been suspended, I think it's absolutely ridiculous. BTW CLASS OF 16 RULES

Apr. 4, 2014, 11:59:16 pm

MB said...

Coach Black was my first football coach and even a colleague when I taught at SAMO...while I would never engage in or justify a physical altercation with a student, if a kid is selling drugs in class and as a teacher you can't physically search the student per the Ed code, exactly what do you do if the kid won't give the drugs up? Call security then wait for them to show up at a large school with 3500 students? Everyone knows that by the time security gets there, the drugs, the student (who's to say he/she will stay in the classroom?) or both are long gone. Even worse -- what if a student has a weapon and won't give it up? Hopefully a common sense exception would be made, but according to the Ed code, the student CANNOT be physically searched by a teacher, though I would hope a common sense exception would be made in that case. Bottom line: While I would never engage in or justify a physical altercation with a student, things like this will happen because of the underlying problem here, which is that teachers cannot actively stop laws from being broken in their classroom...I won't even get in to the Superintendent's questionable comments that seem to place the blame all on the teacher and the sad changes that have taken place at SAMO since I graduated more than 10 years ago.

Apr. 5, 2014, 8:11:58 am

Jim said...

Shame on the district and news outlets for putting the initial blame on the teacher! A Samo student told me directly that the teacher was attacked by the dealer and 2 or three of his gangster friends when he tried to stop a campus drug deal from going down. The gangsters simply made the mistake of attacking the wrong guy-- the wrestling coach who knew a little self-defense. Expulsions are in order for those kids!!!!

Apr. 5, 2014, 8:16:55 am

brooke adams said...

Everyone should be emailing my lyons their response in support of this teacher. Here is her email: Here is what I sent: I have never emailed anyone based on a news story, but as a parent and educator I wanted to send a quick email in support of the teacher suspended for using physical force against a student who had illegal drugs and struck out at the teacher. What a sad and terrible society we live in where a teacher would be suspended when a teenager with illegal drugs would be supported. I hope you will change your decision and allow this teacher back in the classroom and I certainly hope the student has been suspended himself. What message does this send the student? In my opinion you are aiding to the self centered and unaccountable attitude of the next generation. What a mistake you have made.

Apr. 5, 2014, 9:22:11 am

Jake said...

There is an unspoken problem at SAMO that district officials ignore. While it is generally a pretty good school, there are a number of students that ditch, wander, sell drugs, use alcohol, and look to cause trouble. The majority of these kids are from the poorest neighborhoods in Santa Monica. They have gang, mental health and substance abuse issues. The only people on campus who can safely intervene when these kids cause trouble are the administrators,, deans, or security personal. There are not enough of these people around supervising all day long The average teacher keeps his head down and must resist intervening when witnessing the deplorable conduct of these little troublemakers. Because if you get involved, you risk false accusations, suspension, and loss of teaching credential. The news media publishes your name and ruins your reputation. Give teachers back some power!!!

Apr. 5, 2014, 9:25:12 am

anonymous said...

Perhaps the Santa Monica Press can print a follow up given the fact that there is more information in the comments section then in the newspaper article.

Apr. 5, 2014, 9:37:31 am

S F said...

Shame on the school board. Coach Black is a hero.

Apr. 5, 2014, 10:03:28 am

anonymous said...

The student had drugs and the teacher asked him for them to dispose of them. The kid attacked Mr. Black and he was just protecting himself from the student.

Apr. 5, 2014, 10:38:58 am

Jim Thompson said...

This kid is no victim. Drug dealing punk needs a watershed moment that he won't forget. A good beating may learn him some respect. But since that can't happen the kid will continue down this path until he drops out and winds up in the prison system. The teacher did the right thing. I hope people stand up for him and he keeps his job.

Apr. 5, 2014, 10:45:14 am

Mrs. Parker said...

I watched the whole video series. The teacher exercised extreme restraint. Look at the size of the "kid" he's as big as the teacher. The teacher probably thought he was going to pull out a weapon. We have to stop coddling these thugs.

Apr. 5, 2014, 11:38:27 am

Gail said...

What about throwing the kid in jail for being in possession of marijuana at school and attacking the teacher who took it away from him. This story stinks. The superintendent so quick to support the student who was CLEARLY out of line - you deserve ti be fired. Where are the teacher's rights? He was ATTACKED by a student more than half his age! The kids was IN THE WRONG! Our country is a mess!

Apr. 5, 2014, 12:12:17 pm

Jim said...

The system is the problem and this Ms. Lyon is obviously more concerned with protecting her job then standing behind the teacher. She should have never made some of those statements until she knew all the facts. I hope that after this is all over that the teacher is totally cleared along with an apology. After that I hope someone looks into Ms. Lyon's handling of this incident through the media. An innocent man's reputation has been ruined by this woman who is supposed to be impartial and not pass judgement so quickly. Once again they are more worried about protecting their jobs and the district from lawsuits. Watch now, this drug dealing punk's family is probably going to sue and they just might win. California is all screwed up and the judicial system is the root of all the problems.

Apr. 5, 2014, 12:14:41 pm

Debra Shepherd said...

First of all, the teacher is on paid administrative leave. That is not a punishment. This is a requirement based on Board policy to allow the District to gather information to figure out what occurred. This is a $150 million dollar organization. When something like this occurs, there has to be an investigation and the findings have to be clearly documented to protect the organization and everyone involved. Every time SMMUSD gets sued, we as community members pay and so do the kids. Only 13 percent of the whole budget goes to instruction anyway. Second, Sandra Lyon cannot override ED Code and Board policy just because of the number of likes on a Facebook page. The rules have to be the same for everyone, not just the people that the community doesn't like. Hopefully, cooler, more informed heads will prevail. Peace.

Apr. 5, 2014, 1:08:30 pm

Jake said...

Debra, we all understand that school personnel have to be placed on paid administrative leave after an "incident." That's not the issue. In her first comments to the media, Ms. Lyon jumped to the conclusion that the teacher was the aggressor and the poor student was his victim. Those of us close to the situation know that is false. And yeah, there are some members of the community that it is ok NOT to like. I happen to hate gang members, drug dealers, violent kids, kids that intimidate others, and other hardcore criminals. I don't think that makes me a bad person. I just want SAMO to be a safe school so my daughter can continue to be the happy, confident, kind honor student we raised her to be . Cooler heads are prevailing.

Apr. 5, 2014, 2:49:48 pm

Debra Shepherd said...

Jake, you're assuming that I am some outsider. I happen to know the Superintendent and I am very familiar with Diistrict policy. Some of it, I helped write. There are lots of comments related to this situation on various websites that advocate firing the Superintendent. Those are rash comments based on a lack of knowledge. I don't always agree with her comments or decisions, but I think Sandy is the best Supt we've had in a long time. She actually knows something, instead of just coming here to line her pockets, like some of her predecessors. As for the taking sides with the bad guys, that's an assumption too. Just because I'm not in agreement with demonizing a student who allegedly possessed marijuana does not mean that I am in favor of drug dealers or other criminals. FYI , you don't have the market cornered on good parenting. I've already put one student successfully through the District with a scholarship to college. Another thing, stop pretending like there were no drugs on that campus until now. I've seen kids get high on campus. Maybe if people stopped pretending that these schools are only for the golden perfect beautiful children, the real issues can be addressed. Drugs is one of those issues. A lack of curriculum is another. I can go on all day, because I actually know something about the inner workings of the organization

Apr. 5, 2014, 10:12:43 pm

Mark said...

The comments by Debra are a bit disconcerting. Somehow it is okay to demonize the teacher but not okay to demonize a student that was allegedly selling weed on campus? And I don't think suspending him was demonizing, but the comments made by the Superintendent prior to any unbiased investigation taking place. While Samohi isn't just for the "golden children", all children deserve a safe environment free of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and guns. If we are preparing young people for the workplace, then we should prepare them for the fact that you cannot be high at work, drunk at work, smoke inside the workplace or carry weapons. If we are just to accept that kids having drugs at school is normal and not worth opposing, then we are silently approving of that choice and that behavior. Nobody knows all the facts yet and it is irresponsible to call for the Superintendent's head as it is irresponsible to call out Mr. Black without knowing the facts.

Apr. 5, 2014, 4:11:37 pm

Robert (Bob) Smith said...

If there were drugs involved, I believe the teacher was very brave in apprehending a "Drug Dealer", and also displayed that he really takes "The Duty Of Care" for the rest of the SAMOHI students 'very' seriously. Hopefully when the police look at all the video evidence and the statements of the Students who have already said the teacher was a hero for standing up to the drug dealer and his cohorts (gang members? bodyguards?) they will then arrest the dealer first and also the dealers friends.

Apr. 5, 2014, 4:17:01 pm

Robert Forster said...

Paper Lyons I know now everyone will see that Superintendent Lyons has no concern for student safety, faculty or our school district, only for her career and covering her behind. She showed her true colors literally on the first day on the job three years ago at a school board meeting when she threw the concerns and safety of an entire group of students under the bus to cow tow to the unfounded accusations, lies and incriminations of a few. I heard other faculty were assaulted Friday, my advice to them is to not believe a word she says, she will lie to get your trust and then kick you to the curb. They give Mr. Black the classes no other faculty can handle and then turn their backs when an apparent criminal, who shouldn't even be in school, assaults Black. This whole incident is unfortunate but this is the environment created by this school administration. Where the paper lion power of a few is placated for so long that they are empowered to act criminally in school and now a teacher with a thirty year history of helping every student who was ever interested in improving themselves is abandoned BEFORE the facts are out. He will be vindicated but the damage is done, everyone will remember her unprofessional comments. Every time I pay my property taxes knowing that it goes in part to pay her salary I cringe knowing she does not care about the reputation of our school system or the damage to property values that comes from her rush to judgment that only serves to save her job. She must go.

Apr. 5, 2014, 4:48:48 pm

Mark said...

Debra, I read your comments regarding ED policy. I don't think there is a problem at all with suspending the teacher. Having Mr. Black on campus right away could present a danger to himself and/or others and also serve as a distraction. Nor do I believe that Ms. Lyon should be terminated based upon one incident of poor judgment on her part. Once she sent an e-mail out to the parents claimng that Mr. Black's actions or his technique in restraining the student were "unacceptable" before knowing all the facts, she injected herself into the situation before having all the facts. That is what has most of us outraged at her response.

Apr. 5, 2014, 5:40:13 pm

Jake said...

Debra, Read my comment above (9:22 am) about what I know about the unspoken problem with these little gangsters at SAMO and other public schools. If you are an insider in the organization, you might just be part of the problem. Stop defending the politicians and bureaucrats and help the teachers, parents, and good kids by providing more comprehensive security and supervision throughout the district. Again, your response just seemed so political and defensive. We need people like you to get inspired and fight the evil. Otherwise, find another profession. We need less people writing "district policy" and a whole lot more direct involvement!

Apr. 5, 2014, 9:04:40 pm

Anonymous said...

An arrest was made and the information is available to the public since the attacker is 18 years old. On SMPD website, go to Community Information >Daily Reports. Or LASD Inmate Information Center. Name: BLAIR MOORE, Date Of Birth: 01/04/1996, Booking No.: 3903331, Primary charge is CA Penal Code 71 (Every person who, with intent to cause, attempts to cause, or causes, any officer or employee of any public or private educational institution or any public officer or employee to do, or refrain from doing, any act in the performance of his duties.)

Apr. 5, 2014, 9:17:44 pm

Concerned Citizen said...

Debra Shepard you are certainly part of the problem. The "golden perfect beautiful children" may be the ones that disgust you, but they are there to learn. Gang bangers and drug dealers belong somewhere else if they are not interested in learning. Stop apologizing for deplorable behavior and grow up. Serious discipline is needed here so that those who want to move forward in life are not constantly thwarted by trouble makers who care more for impressing other gang members than anything else. Its a pity you have anything to do with writing policy or anything else as you apparently lack insight as to reasonable solutions other than continuing the madness. Students who want to learn are being victimized here along with the teachers. This country has to stand up against people like you and maybe then some semblance of sanity will return to "education". The students have clearly spoken here and you may want to crack open your narrow mind and listen to them. Based on your comments though, we won't hold our breath.

Apr. 6, 2014, 8:50:27 am

Lynn Hall said...

WRONG!! Student fighting with teacher, Teacher defending himself. This is wrong at every level. I am just appalled that this student who brought drugs to school and then went after the teacher is being protected. This child is the future! We are doomed.

Apr. 6, 2014, 9:56:31 am

Robert Forster said...

The problem with this district is evident in the comments of the "insiders". Those parents who are close to district administrators and get what they want done for them and their kids even if it does not represent what's best for all the students. it's a good old girls club that throws their weight around and slap each others back for a job well done but it is really detrimental to the student body A's a whole. The firing of the baseball coach a few years ago is evidence of this. Lyons once told me she wished the whole athletic wing would break off the school and fall into the ocean! FACT.

Apr. 6, 2014, 11:45:06 am

David E said...

Apr. 6, 2014, 5:52:16 pm

American said...

It's OK to deal drugs during class. They'll even fire the teacher if he tries to stop you. This is what LIBERALISM creates: failing liberal controlled public schools where kids can deal drugs with impunity in class.

Apr. 7, 2014, 3:24:07 am

Ramon infante said...

Coach/teacher should be given a raise and a hero's attaboy. Superintendent should be made to attend Superintendent classes to teach her what is right and what is wrong! BALLS TO HER JAW! KNOW WHAT AM SAYIN?

Apr. 7, 2014, 7:22:40 am

carlos said...

Great action Mr black you as re great person never change

Apr. 9, 2014, 8:57:08 am

darlene hodges said...

no wonder so many schools are failing.

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