Blair Moore, a student of Santa Monica High school who was arrested after fighting with his science teacher on Friday last week, appeared in court for multiple misdemeanor charges on Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty.
The charges include two counts of threatening a school official, one count possessing marijuana on school grounds, one count of possession of a weapon (a box cutter) on campus, and one count of using violence against a school employee “in retaliation for an act performed in the course of his or her duties.”
According to Sgt. Jay Moroso of the Santa Monica Police Department, Moore was released “on his own recognizance” with an order not to strike, harass, assault, or threaten the victims named in the case. The 18-year-old student will go back to court on April 22 for his pre-trial hearing.
— Julie Sone (@JulieSone) April 8, 2014
A cellphone video recorded by one of the students shows Mark Black, a teacher, wrestling with Moore. Black grabbed Moore by the thigh before crashing into the classroom desks and pinning Moore to the floor. Some witnesses say the fight began when Black tried to confiscate something that was related to drugs from Moore.
This was confirmed by Oscar de la Torre, a member of the district school board, who said that the incident arose from a conflict over drugs. Parents and students made similar statements in television news interviews and letters to school officials.
Kylan Townsend, one of the students, said that Black wasn’t trying to hurt Moore: “He just wanted him to stop and he was trying to be a teacher and help.”
After the incident, Supt. Sandra Lyon of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District released a statement, calling Black’s use of physical restraint “unacceptable.” Lyon placed Black on paid leave and pledged support to Moore’s family.
However, Lyon’s statement angered parents. They defended Black and his efforts for intervening. A Facebook page supporting Black was put up, and there is also a petition on Change.org calling for his reinstatement.
A Santa Monica High School graduate named Daniel Jacobs became upset about the initial statement given by Lyon that he made his own petition asking for Lyon to apologize. He said that when he watched the cellphone video, he saw Black as someone who was trying to neutralize a threat. Jacobs is one of Black’s former students, and he always makes it a point to visit his old teacher. He says of Black, “I’ve never met a more kindhearted man in my life.”
Here’s the whole story (according to reports)