Community Rallies Behind Samohi Teacher Caught on Video Fighting Student

Students, former students and parents flock to Facebook to voice their criticism in how the incident was handled.

Screenshot of the Facebook page set up to support teacher and coach Mark Black of Santa Monica High School, caught on tape fighting with a student.
Screenshot of the Facebook page set up to support teacher and coach Mark Black of Santa Monica High School, caught on tape fighting with a student.
Originally posted at 8:56 a.m. April 5, 2014. Edited to fix a typo.

A Facebook page in support of Santa Monica High School teacher Mark Black who was caught on tape wrestling with a student, and promptly put on leave, has already attracted more than 800 likes -- and counting.

"Show some support for coach Black. Anyone who knows coach Black knows he's a honorable man, and dedicated to his students," says the "about" section of the page known as We Support Coach Black at Samohi, created at around 11 p.m. Friday.

" I 100 percent support Coach Black," writes one former student.

Writes another former student: "We need to picket at the smmusd office to show coach black has all of his old students backing him up I say all next week."

Fans of the page are saying Black did the right thing in restraining the student and are criticizing Santa Monica-Malibu Unified Superintendent Sandra Lyon for jumping to conclusions.

"So wait, Coach Black is being punished for keeping the other students safe? Ridiculous," says one post. 

"The Santa Monica community and other teachers can not set back on this. This superintendent goes on TV and blames the teacher for this after seeing an incomplete video. When the real problem is all the school districts inability's to provide a zero tolerance environment," says another.

Val Streit April 06, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Lyon had a knee jerk reaction to this before gathering all the facts. I stand with Mr. Black on this because kids today have no consequences for things they do. Parents aren't allowed to use physical punishment against kids these days so the kids have no fear. Blame the parents of the kid here. Do they know if that this kid was selling drugs. Also, if this kid is 18 he is not a considered a kid anymore so it is a physical altercation between two adults in which case the student is still wrong. Reinstate Mr. Black!
Mara T April 06, 2014 at 04:06 PM
PS-- in the title it should be SAMOHI, which stands for Santa Monica High School.. and all in caps. That said, I went to that school in the late 60s... and know that keeping the school environment totally about learning is so important. Kudos to the teacher who did not turn a blind eye to what was seen.
Racer Boy April 06, 2014 at 05:13 PM
Sandra Lyon is clearly NOT highly qualified and NOT very wise. If she were, we would not be having this conversation. If this is the level of professionalism that Santa Monica thinks is appropriate then they are getting exactly what they deserve.
Penny Arévalo April 06, 2014 at 07:45 PM
Hi Mara, Past Patch style is to only capitalize the S. Sorry about the "n" sneaking in there. It's been fixed.
martin marteen April 06, 2014 at 08:29 PM
I am a disinterested person, being new to the community. But it seems, that a preliminary investigation and preponderance of evidence, would have supported the teacher , and allowed him to stay and do his work, pending full and complete impartial review. This teacher was not endangering the students by being around, even if found "guilty" at the end of the full investigation. What better evidence than the all the students speaking up for him. Alas, Ms Lyon , perhaps, may have reached her position of incompetence and unable to separate the wheat from the chaff. Too bad. Zero tolerance is always a bad idea, when you accuse a four year old boy of sexism and suspend them, as has occurred in other instances. Ridiculous as it seems.


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