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Hollywood coach accused of attacking student

March 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A Bernstein High School coach is accused of attacking a student at the entrance to a school locker room.

A local high school coach is facing serious charges, accused of attacking a student at the entrance to a school locker room. The alleged confrontation took place at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood.

The coach was arrested and booked for felony assault. He was free Tuesday on $50,000 bail.

Police say the violent altercation at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood between 33-year-old Jorge Chavez, a coach and teacher, and a male student, started at the boys locker room more than a week ago.

Los Angeles Unified School District officials are investigating the incident.

"As a result of the altercation the student was admitted to the hospital emergency room," said Robert Alaniz, a spokesman for the LAUSD. "There was some apparent injuries. The coach was reassigned to an off-site district office and will be there pending the outcome of the investigation."

School district officials won't provide details about the skirmish.

Officials say Chavez was a middle-school teacher for several years with the district before becoming a coach and teacher at Bernstein High about a week ago. Students at the high school said Chavez is a physical education coach.

Eyewitness News talked to students who say they witnessed the altercation. Their versions of what they say happened vary.

"I just saw the P.E. teacher and the student talking smack, and then the student pushed the teacher and then the teacher swung, and they started getting down," said student John Ceron.

"They were arguing and out of nowhere the teacher just grabs the kid and pushes him to the wall and then starts kicking him and punching him in the face and all that," said Ana Hernandez.

"There are two sides to every story. I mean, we've heard both sides of the story. What we do know is that there was an altercation. We look at this very seriously any time a teacher or an adult is involved in a physical altercation with a student. He should never strike a student," said Alaniz.

Police say they have yet to finish their investigation and turn the case over to the district attorney's office, which will decide whether to file formal charges against Chavez.

"There's a lot of witnesses still to be interviewed sides, to be told, but when the officers arrived at the hospital they observed injuries on the student. They could see visible injuries to the face, to the lip, to the jaw," said LAPD Officer Bruce Borihanh.