An online petition to reinstate a Santa Monica High School teacher involved in a physical altercation with a student has collected more than 3,500 signatures while a Facebook group “We Support Coach Black of Samohi” has passed 10,000 members.
On Friday, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District superintendent Sandra Lyon wrote to parents via email at 3:30 pm saying that a teacher had been placed on leave after a physical altercation with a student inside a classroom earlier in the day.
That teacher has since been identified as Mark Black, a long-time science teacher and wrestling coach at the school.
According to online petition creator Timothy Conley (Alumni 1995), the student was in possession of marijuana that he was attempting to sell in the classroom.
“As Mr. Black attempted to confiscate the drug and stop the illegal distribution, he was attacked by the student,” Conley said. “In an attempt to protect himself and not injure the student in question, 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 until the proper authorities could be contacted.”
SMMUSD school officials have not released details of what sparked the confrontation.