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Two Students Arrested after Fight with Santa Monica High School Teacher

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By Jason Islas
Lookout reporter

April 8, 2014 -- The student who fought with a Santa Monica High School teacher Friday in an incident that garnered national attention was allegedly armed and in possession of drugs, according to police officials.

The unnamed 18-year-old student, who was arrested following the incident, is charged with possessing a box cutter and marijuana on school grounds, police officials said. He is also charged with threatening a school official and battery against a school employee.

Police have also charged a 16-year-old student with battery against a school employee following the incident, which sparked national controversy when footage of the fight between a student and long-time science teacher and wrestling coach Mark Black went viral.

No charges have been filed against Black.

Based on one of the videos of the incident, Superintendent Sandra Lyon called Black’s use of restraint “unacceptable,” which led parents and students alike to come to Black’s defense.

Supporters launched a Facebook page and an online petition that received thousands of supporters over the weekend. (“Santa Monica High Teacher Placed on Leave after ‘Deeply Disturbing’ Incident,” April 4, 2014)

In the video, Black can be seen wrestling a student, eventually pinning him to the ground.

Lyon has since apologized for her initial email, writing in a follow-up email sent Saturday that her initial response “reflected a pre-judgment of the teacher’s conduct.”

In the email, she reaffirmed her commitment to “a thorough and independent” investigation of the incident.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board member Oscar de la Torre reaffirmed Lyon’s commitment.

“We’re committed to a thorough and fair investigation,” he said. “Until the facts are revealed, everyone should refrain from passing judgment.”

Still, supporters of Black did not hesitate to take to the Internet to defend the veteran school teacher, and several students who said they witnessed the incident claimed that Black was acting in self-defense, according to media reports.

A Facebook page titled, “We Support Coach Black of Samohi” sprouted up over the weekend after news of the incident broke and has since received 10,500 “likes.”

An online petition calling for Black’s reinstatement has also been circulating and, as of Monday, has 4,150 supporters.

“Mark Black, longtime science teacher and wrestling coach at Santa Monica High School, was attacked on the morning of April 4, 2014, by a student in his science classroom,” the petition reads.

“In an attempt to protect himself and not injure the student in question, Mr. Black, a wrestling coach with over 30 years experience, placed the student in a restraint hold to stop the student from further attacking him,” the petition reads. 

This was in an effort to get the situation under control until the proper authorities could be contacted.”

The 18-year-old suspect will be arraigned in court Tuesday, officials said. The 16-year-old suspect’s court date will not take place until 60 days after his arrest, officials said. A specific date has not been set.

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