SANTA MONICA – The 18-year-old student arrested for a classroom fight which was caught on video has pled not guilty to charges of drug possession and assault.
On Friday April 4, two students at Santa Monica High School were arrested in connection with an assault that was recorded on video and quickly went viral. In the fight between science teacher and wrestling coach Mark Black and a student, no punches were thrown. However, the teacher grappled with the student, crashing into desks and ultimately restraining him on the floor.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of battery as well as Blair Moore, 18, of Los Angeles. Black claimed that the fight was self-defense, occurring when he discovered drugs on the students and they became violent with him.
The reaction from the school board was that of immediate condemnation of Black and his suspension. In a letter sent home with students, Superintendent Sandra Lyon called the physical restraint used by Black “unacceptable”.
The letter received immediate backlash from parents, who lauded Black for intervening. The controversy even launched a Facebook page supporting Black and challenging his suspension. At this time the page has more than 21,000 likes.
Lyon apologized over the weekend for making a statement without full knowledge of the situation. School board member Oscar de la Torre is also reported to have said he feels that Black acted within his rights. De la Torre also noted that he could have hurt the student badly, but merely restrained him, even putting himself in danger.
Moore was charged with two counts of threatening a public school official, one count of possession of a box cutter on school grounds, one count of possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana on school grounds, and one count of force or violence against a school employee in retaliation for an act performed in the course of his or duties. All of these charges are misdemeanors. On Tuesday, Moore pled not guilty and was released on his own recognizance.
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