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Trending: 'Utterly Alarming' Video Shows Teacher, Student Fighting in a Classroom

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

Screen grab from video
Screen grab from video

by Penny Arévalo

Santa Monica, California – 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."

A Facebook page in support Black who was already had 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.

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.

--City News Service contributed to this report

Trending on Patch is a category showcasing popular stories from across Patch's network of 900 local news sites.

Igor April 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM
melanie it always amazes me when people read the headline and skims through the rest of the article or don't bother to read any other account. This guy was selling drugs, tried to stab the teacher with a pencil and had a box cutter on him ( I guess those hamburgers are hard to cut in the cafe). Numerous run in with the law. The teacher did not hit him, just restrained him. You stated"teachers are not officers of the law and have no right to put their hands on a student". Melanie it's called self defense. I assume you would have just sat there and let him wail away on you? Another ST. Theresa.
Racer Boy April 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM
People who think like Melanie are part of the problem...not part of the solution.
Racer Boy April 10, 2014 at 12:43 PM
It's amazing to me that some people consider statements of fact as racism. Why? Denying the truth and making excuses for actions doesn't fix anything. Identify the problem and take positive action to fix it. Thats how progress is made.
mimi April 10, 2014 at 08:01 PM
Melanie- I support your position. Of course, the teacher made a terrible decision and it triggered more bad decisions by others. There is enough blame to go around for each participant. As if this wasn't' bad enough, enter the racist community with comments that chill to the bone.
Igor April 10, 2014 at 08:23 PM
I agree . The teacher made a terrible decision trying to protect his life. Maybe he should have let the kid slice him up with a box cutter, or maybe stab him a few times with the pencil. Then both you and Melanie could write nice obit for him. Calling him a hero.

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