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Bronx Teacher Used Belt to Break Up Student Fight

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 21, 2011 6:51 AM

Given that extreme corporal punishment in school is generally a thing of the past, the idea of a Bronx teacher, belt in hand, smacking two elementary school students is pretty preposterous.

But it apparently happened at Benjamin Franklin Public School in New York when, faced with a student-on-student brawl, teacher Pedro Molano allegedly decided to use his belt instead of his words.

He's now being charged with assault, but appears not to have lost his job.

There are minimal facts on the so-called Bronx teacher belt incident, but the New York Daily News reports that Pedro Molano came across two students fighting, and in an attempt to get them to stop, allegedly whipped them with his belt.

The ages of the students are unknown, but NBC reports that students at the school range from Kindergarten to 5th grade.

Because New York is one of the many states that has banned corporal punishment in schools, if Molano did take his belt to the two students, his defenses are limited to those available to everyone else: self-defense and defense of others.

He could argue that he was placing himself in danger by attempting to break up the fight, which necessitated the use of a weapon. He could also claim that he was protecting the children and bystanders from further and worse injury.

Given the age of the children, the likelihood that these excuses will work is quite minimal.

So, what will become of Pedro Molano?

Well, according to both news sources, all of the headlines decrying the Bronx teacher belt incident have only instigated an investigation by his employer. But if allegations turn out to be true, he probably won't ever be able to work with children again.

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