A freshman at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, New Jersey has been arrested and charged with third-degree aggravated assault for tackling his 62-year-old physics teacher to the ground in an attempt to get his cell phone back.
Neither names have been released yet, but the student has been suspended from school as well.
School officials said the teacher rightfully took the phone from the student because he was not using it for academic purposes.
In the clip, the student wrapped his arms around the teacher, who seemingly tried to continue instruction before the student slammed him into a desk.
Other students are heard saying “I’m out,” and then are seen getting out of their seats and walking to the corners of the classroom instead of reaching out to physically stop the altercation. Not one person helped their teacher, to which some are speculating that they were afraid of getting in trouble for becoming physically involved.
After the student wrestled the teacher to a corner and slammed him to the floor, one student asked, “Should I get security?,” to which multiple other students quickly responded “Yeah!” and security was instantly yelled for. After security was called, one classmate went in and grabbed the 9th grader and led him away from the teacher.
“What strikes me is that the teacher never even defended himself,” Lee McNulty, a retired JFK teacher, told NorthJersey.com. “That just shows how much teachers are afraid of losing their job.”
In press interviews last year, McNulty called JFK a chaotic place where fights were common. However, city education officials said they have improved conditions at JFK in the past few years and have worked very hard to make it a safer place for their students and staff.
Peter Tirri, president of the Paterson Education Association, the teachers union, told the news outlet he’s “disappointed” that other students didn’t come to the teacher’s aid. “Maybe they were afraid,” he added. “I don’t know.”
“It’s troubling that in our society today students think that inside a school they can put their hands on each other and teachers as well,” Jonathan Hodges, a veteran school board member, said. “I went online trying to find this video and I found numerous videos of teachers being attacked by their students.”