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'Utterly Alarming' Video Shows Santa Monica Teacher Fighting a Student

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon has placed high school teacher and wrestling coach Mark Black on leave pending an investigation.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A Santa Monica High School teacher and wrestling coach caught on cell phone videos fighting with a student today was placed on leave pending an investigation into the incident, the school district superintendent announced.

According to a letter sent to parents by Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon, no one was injured in the classroom confrontation between teacher Mark Black and a student whose name has not been released.

But Lyon said she was alarmed by what she saw of the videos capturing the fight, which caused Santa Monica police to come to the school.

"A number of videos capturing at least a portion of the incident are circulating, and I can tell you that what I witnessed on one of those videos is utterly alarming," she wrote in the letter.

Based on what she has seen, the "physical restraint" used by the teacher was "unacceptable," Lyon wrote.

A Santa Monica police spokesman declined to comment on the incident and instead referred questions to the school district.

"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 wrote. "I am grateful that there is no reported serious physical harm to students or teachers, but that neither dismisses the severity of this situation nor my commitment to gather all the facts and make sure the proper actions are taken."

--City News Service


Penny Arévalo April 07, 2014 at 08:19 PM
Followup story here about the arrest of the students. However, that doesn't necessarily mean Coach is off the hook. http://santamonica.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/2-samohi-students-arrested-in-connection-with-teacher-brawl
Larry Lang April 08, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Another fine example of child raising abilities.
Igor April 08, 2014 at 11:53 AM
I've been thinking about this a lot. Something bothered me. It took a while but I found it. Not only is Lyon bias, but so it the Patch. The headlines read 'Utterly Alarming' Video Shows Santa Monica Teacher Fighting a Student. Shouldn't it had been 'Utterly Alarming' Video Shows Santa Monica Student fighting a Teacher?
Joan Lloyd April 08, 2014 at 12:44 PM
The school systems are so busy making money off our children they show how fake they are when it comes to supporting their teachers. "JUST IN CASE THE PARENTS ARE silly ENOUGH TO TRY TO SUE, THEY ARE COVERING THEMSELVES AGAINST THEIR TEACHER" I hope he loses the job and SUES FOR ALL THEY HAVE....close their doors if possible. other Great schools systems are in the neighborhood. Disgusting system. Education will never improve when teacher are just fillers or baby sitters instead of REAL educators. I want my child to have a good, strong, honest, hard, speak the truth, safe teacher. Not one who will allow drugs to even be discussed let along sold in his space. I think the parents should take on this school board and ask for the resignation of the ill taking members. IS THE STUDENT IN JAIL YET?
Joan Lloyd April 08, 2014 at 12:48 PM
IGOR, I so agree with you on the 'sorry' PATCH headline.....this is the shame of our society.....Make the headline that will sell the most advertisement, even though it is IRRESPONSIBLE. when we stop supporting these types of headlines this will change. Thanks for your insight.

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