A female juvenile student was arrested and the teacher was placed on paid administration leave after a videotaped fist fight was recorded from another student’s cell phone.
15-year-old Marlina Martinez said she was putting on her make up in class when her math teacher allegedly confiscated her compact. Martinez said she called her mother and gave her cell phone to the teacher with her mother on the line who demanded that the teacher return her daughter’s belongings. At this point the teacher confiscated the cell phone as well, which escalated the confrontation to becoming physical.
Martinez was arrested for assault. Though the video shows both Martinez and the teacher exchanging blows, the teacher has not been charged with any crime, but is on paid administration leave. Martinez wishes to file charges against her teacher and is contemplating a lawsuit.
On Wednesday teachers from Chavez High School came forward to defend their fellow faculty member with information about alternate situations where students become aggressive and may cause need for security to be called. Some class rooms have panic buttons installed, although these do not always seem to work reliably.
One substitute teacher who wishes to remain anonymous stated, “I really felt this teacher was afraid to turn her back on this student to get help.”
Martinez says the video shows a different story.
This incident has caused the Stockton Unified District to re-examine its overall school security measures as it also conducts an investigation of this incident.
“I have not heard of an incident that spiraled like this out of control,” said Stockton Unified spokesperson Dianne Barth. “There are management strategies you’re expected to use and in an event like this. Obviously we’re going to offer refresher training.”
Martinez was suspended for five days and a hearing is expected to determine if she will be expelled from the school.
Under normal circumstances regular education teachers are not formally trained on how to effectively restrain an aggressive minor. Special education teachers are required to go through a form of continuous training that includes classroom management and correct restraint practices of physically aggressive students. The Stockton District assures that it offers the training to regular education teachers and additional training procedures per request of the teacher.
“If you’re not trained, there’s a fight or flight adrenaline rush that happens and I don’t know what happened in this case,” said Buettner.
The district reports that the overall suspensions in schools are down 55 percent since last year.
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News 10: Stockton Unified investigates student-teacher fistfight