A Santa Monica High School science teacher caught on camera fighting with an African American student was allowed to return to classes this week.
Mark Black, who is also the school’s wrestling coach, was placed on paid leave after the April 4 fight.
The fight erupted after student Blair Moore reportedly brought marijuana to school and Black tried to confiscate it.
Black claims he was acting in self-defense.
Moore, of Los Angeles, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of threatening a public school official, one count of possession of a box cutter on school grounds, one count of possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana on school grounds, and one count of force or violence against a school employee in retaliation for an act performed in the course of his or her duties—all misdemeanors. He has been released from custody pending the charges.
Another 16-year-old Black male has also been named as a suspect in connection with the fight.
The school district conducted an internal investigation of the incident and decided to remove the teacher from paid leave.
“Based on what we have learned, it is appropriate to return Mr. Black from paid administrative leave at this time,” Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon said.
District officials expect to receive an investigator’s report by mid-week.
SMHS students have been on spring break since the fight.