The attack, captured on video, shows the teen slamming the 62-year-old educator to the floor in front of other students in an effort to get his cellphone back.
City school officials confirmed that criminal charges have been filed against the student, who has been suspended from school.
Someone in the classroom recorded the assault, which officials say took place at about 1 pm on Tuesday, and the video has been posted on YouTube.
The 23-second video shows the 16-year-old with his arms wrapped around the teacher, knocking him into an empty desk. Other students are heard reacting verbally to the altercation, but no one physically intervened — in fact, several move away. After the student wrestled the teacher to a corner and slammed him to the floor, a couple of students yelled for security to be called.
The district filed a complaint against the student earlier this week, a spokeswoman said, and Paterson police said they arrested him at his home on Friday.
“We took a statement from the teacher today,” said Capt. Heriberto Rodriguez. “After that, we went out and found the juvenile and arrested him.” The teenager was charged with third-degree aggravated assault, the captain said.
“Let me say that this is a very upsetting incident and certainly one that we take seriously as the safety of our students and staff is our top priority,” said Terry Corallo, district spokeswoman.
She said the student while on suspension will receive home instruction and a disciplinary hearing will determine “an appropriate, educational placement” for the rest of the school year.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t see any other kids in the classroom help [the teacher] out,” Tirri said about the events depicted in the short video. “Maybe they were afraid. I don’t know.”
“What strikes me is that the teacher never even defended himself,” said Lee McNulty, a retired JFK teacher who has been vocal recently with criticism about violence and disorder in the high school. “That just shows how much teachers are afraid of losing their job.”
“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,” said Jonathan Hodges, a veteran school board member. “I went online trying to find this video and I found numerous videos of teachers being attacked by their students.”
Source: North Jersey