Teacher in Fight With Student Reinstated

A Southern California teacher who was put on paid leave from his job after he was seen in a fight with a student caught on camera was reinstated.

Mark Black, a science teacher and wrestling coach at Santa Monica High School, was placed on paid leave after the April 4 confrontation that led to the arrests of two students.

The move sparked outrage among some parents and students who have been rallying in support of Black. A Facebook page created to support the teacher has been "liked" by more than 23,700 people.

"Based on what we have learned, it is appropriate to return Mr. Black from paid administrative leave at this time," SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyon said.

One of the high school students pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the classroom fight.

The student faces misdemeanor charges of threatening a public school official, possession of a box cutter on school grounds, possession of marijuana on school grounds and force or violence against a school employee.

A 16-year-old student was also arrested in connection with the brawl. The second student is accused of battery against a school employee.

In the cellphone video, no punches were thrown, but Black can eventually be seen on the video with his arms locked around the student's legs, on the classroom floor.

Some witness reports indicated the teacher had been stabbed with a pencil.

Black was was placed on leave.

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

But she apologized, saying she had pre-judged the incident based on video that shows "a piece of this story."

Contact Us