Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Teacher Arrested for Classroom 'Fight Club'

Some stories just leave you shaking your head -- like news about Bill Cosby or anything recent involving Lindsay Lohan. And things take a special turn when the story involves teachers behaving badly or children getting hurt.

After a series of events that combines both, a former substitute math teacher has been arrested and charged for essentially supervising a classroom "fight club." It's hard to see what a fight club has to do with math, but at least the teacher can use his skills to add up the amount of jail time he's facing if convicted.

Videos of Fights

Multiple videos have surfaced of fights between students in substitute math teacher Ryan Fish's freshman class at Montville High School in Connecticut. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the videos show "full force" open hand strikes between students, at least one of whom does not appear to be a willing participant.

The videos also appear to show Fish encouraging the fights and instructing the students to move "away from the door." In one of the fights, one of the victims begins vomiting, and yet Fish encourages him to start fighting again after the vomiting stops, according to the affidavit.

Beaten at School

Law enforcement was alerted to the math teacher's apparent fight club when a student told a social worker that he had been beaten at school. But by that point, the substitute math teacher had already been fired. The school had fired Fish the same day they learned about the fights, but superintendent Brian Levesque said that he didn't notify the police about Fish because he thought it was an isolated incident that didn't rise to the level of mandatory reporting.

Teacher Faces Multiple Charges

For his part, Fish -- who is only a few years removed from the teenage years himself -- told police that the fights began as horseplay but became more serious after that. Apparently, he felt the students were simply being "rambunctious" and that they were just getting "their energy out."

Although he allegedly described himself as an "idiot" and "immature" to police, Fish has pleaded not guilty to charges including risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment.

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