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Santa Monica High Teacher Placed on Leave after “Deeply Disturbing” Incident

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By Jason Islas
Lookout reporter

April 4, 2014 -- A Santa Monica High School teacher has been placed on administrative leave after a physical altercation with a student Friday, The Lookout has learned.

In an email obtained by The Lookout, Superintendent Sandra Lyon said that an unnamed teacher was involved in “a deeply disturbing” and “utterly alarming” incident that resulted in the police being called to campus.

According to the email, which was sent to parents, students and staff Friday, the teacher used an “unacceptable” kind of physical restraint in a confrontation with a student.

“A number of videos capturing at least a portion of the incident are circulating, and I can tell you that what I witnessed on one of those videos is utterly alarming,” Lyon wrote.

“We have been in contact with the student’s family, and we will work with them to offer the support that they may need,” she wrote.

Lyon said that she was “grateful” that there had been “no serious physical harm to students or teachers,” but that didn’t mean she would take the incident any less seriously.

While Lyon said that the details leading up to the incident are still unknown, she is committed to a making certain there is a full and independent investigation of the incident.

In the meantime, the teacher has been placed on leave, she wrote. And the outcome of the investigation will determine future action.

“I am committed to ensure that any disciplinary action is taken in this matter is based on facts, the law and all students’ right to a safe learning environment,” she said.

Requests by The Lookout for additional information about the case from the Santa Monica Police Department were referred to Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials.

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