A headline that reads “Teacher drags student to pool” is disturbing on many levels. Denny Peterson, a physical education (P.E.) instructor at Edison High School, is charged with a child abuse infraction for allegedly dragging a 14-year-old girl into the pool against her will. The gym teacher is on paid leave, and the actions taken by him and officials have caused a backlash, citing a report by the Huffington Post.
The incident took place in August, when a video posted to YouTube and other social media sites went viral. The footage shows the school teacher dragging a student by the arms to the pool as her peers looked on. The girl is seen kicking and yelling protests against the man’s actions, to no avail, according to the Stockton Record.
Initially, administrators suspended the teacher with pay over the footage, but he returned and was reassigned to another campus. However, when police formally charged Peterson over the allegations, Stockton Unified School District officials placed him on administrative leave again — reportedly with pay.
The student retained an attorney for a possible lawsuit against the teacher and school district for the pool-dragging incident. Gilbert Somera said the girl admitted to fabricating the reason why she didn’t want to get in the pool at the moment. The truth is she had her hair done earlier that morning in preparation for an event later that same day. However, the student’s lawyer said her reason is insignificant; she should not have been abused in that manner and forcefully dragged into the swimming pool.
“Regardless of her participation, it should disgust you how this man put his hands on a 14-year-old girl. She said multiple times,’My top is falling down.’ ‘No’ means ‘no’ and ‘stop’ means ‘stop.’ This isn’t a situation where she’s attacking a teacher and he’s defending himself. When a woman or a 14-year-old girl says ‘no,’ it means ‘no.'”
Source say the student suffered a number of bruises and scrapes on her back while being dragged to the pool by the teacher. Somera compares the incident to bullying in schools. He said the teacher had options, one of which included simply punishing her with a negative academic mark.
“When you have been bullied by an adult in front of your classmates, it places you in a very distressing situation. It’s embarrassing for a young girl like that.”
The teacher has a 10-year tenure for teaching with the district, and has never had any complaints lodged against him. If he is found guilty for dragging the student into the pool, he could lose his ability to teach.
[Image via: Raw Story]