Santa Monica High teacher reinstated after subduing student


A Santa Monica High School teacher and coach will be fully reinstated at the school after he was placed on paid administrative leave during an investigation into a fight with a student.

Mark Black, a science teacher and wrestling coach at the school, allegedly used physical force to subdue a student during an altercation on April 4. The student was allegedly selling marijuana in the class and became physical with the coach when he was confronted. The student allegedly stabbed Black with a pencil.

The incident was captured on cellphone video and was distributed online, sparking controversy in the community.

Parents and students circulated a petition and started a Facebook support page to reinstate Black.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District released a statement Friday announcing Black's reinstatement.

"Based on what we have learned, it is appropriate to return Mr. Black from paid administrative leave, at this time," said Superintendent Sandra Lyon. "I want to make it very clear that Mark Black was not fired or suspended from his job, he was simply placed on leave with pay during the investigation."

The district is working closely with the Santa Monica Police Department to investigate the charges against students involved in the incident, the statement said.

The findings of an internal investigation were expected to be received next week, according to the statement.

"In no way was our action to place the teacher on paid leave a determination of wrongful conduct on his part," said SMMUSD Board Vice President Ralph Mechur. "Mr. Black is a valued coach and educator and we owed him due process protections while the independent investigation was conducted. We have honored that obligation."

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