Angry that his phone had been confiscated, a New Jersey teenager walked up to his high school teacher during class, grabbed him from around the waist and slammed him to the floor before yanking something from the teacher’s hands, most likely his phone.
However, another student recorded the assault, leading to the arrest of the first student.
The incident took place Tuesday at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson. The student, 16, was arrested Friday. The teacher, 62, appeared shaken up, but not seriously injured.
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.
David Cozart, principal of operations at JFK, said the incident happened during a physics class.
He said the teacher apparently confiscated the phone — which belonged to the assailant — from another student. The principal said students are allowed to use cellphones in class for academic purposes, but staff may take the devices and return them at the end of the day if students use them for other reasons.
District officials have not revealed the name of the teacher or student. Peter Tirri, president of the Paterson Education Association, the teachers union, said the teacher has worked in the district since 2003.
“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.