A Paterson, N.J., high school student is facing criminal charges after assaulting a teacher who confiscated his cellphone during class on Thursday.
Both teacher and student were unnamed in the report, but their ages were given as 62 and 16, respectively. The teacher has reportedly been with the district since 2003. Video available below shows the attack.
The black student wrapped his arms around the white teacher and struggled with him briefly before throwing him to the ground. The teacher did not appear to even attempt to fight back.
Eventually, other students in the JFK High School classroom began yelling for security, and it sounds as if the student may have slapped the teacher while looming over him.
The ninth grader has been charged with third-degree aggravated assault.
“We took a statement from the teacher today,” explained Patterson Police detective Capt. Heriberto Rodriguez. “After that, we went out and found the juvenile and arrested him.”
The phone had been confiscated from a student who was not its owner, according to the teacher’s statement. Phones are allowed to be used for educational purposes, but such was not the case in this instance.
The phone would have been returned at the end of the day.
“Let me say that this is a very upsetting incident and certainly one that we take seriously as the safety of our students and staff is our top priority,” said school district spokeswoman Terry Corallo.
The student has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing to decide upon “an appropriate, educational placement” for him.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t see any other kids in the classroom help (the teacher) out,” Paterson Educational Association president Peter Tirri said after watching the video. “Maybe they were afraid; I don’t know.”
It should go without saying that violence of this type, particularly in a school setting, is completely unacceptable and this student needs to be taught a serious lesson.
And while a simple assault by one student against a teacher may not be expected to make national headlines, try searching YouTube for similar incidents. There are plenty.