Stockton Unified School District P.E. teacher Denny Peterson has found himself in the deep end after a struggle with a 14-year-old female student was caught on video by her peers.
Peterson is currently facing one charge of corporal injury to a child and has been put on paid leave after the family of the teen victim brought the video shot by the girl’s classmates to the attention of News10 ABC.
In the video, the 10-year veteran P.E. teacher at Edison High School can be seen physically trying to force the girl into the school swimming pool by dragging her across the floor toward the edge of the pool as fellow classmates throw cups of water at him and attempt to physically bar his way to the pool. Other students try to pull the girl back, away from the pool in a tug of war, all while the girl is squirming, kicking, and yelling that her top is coming off.
One seriously has to wonder what this P.E. instructor was thinking.
The incident captured in a 95-second video took place at the end of last August.
Stockton, Calif. Attorney Gilbert Somera is representing the girl and her family in what is likely resulting in quite a lawsuit.
Regardless of her participation or lack thereof [in the class] 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!’
Witnesses say the girl wanted to avoid swimming that day because her hair had been styled for an event later that evening, and while that may not seem like a good reason to avoid one’s participation in gym class, it’s far from a reason for an instructor to resort to such behavior. Anyone who’s ever had a sister, a girlfriend, or a mother also knows how expensive it can be to have a girl’s hair done, so there’s that, too.
Certainly there were numerous alternatives to the deplorable action taken by Peterson. As attorney Somera says, the teacher had the right to punish the girl academically, but in no way had a right to lay hands on her physically.
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.
Peterson was on paid leave for a month following the fracas with the young girl, but was eventually brought back and assigned to a different school in the district. As of Thursday, however, Peterson was placed on leave once again upon the district being notified that Peterson is currently facing a misdemeanor for corporal injury to a child.
The Stockton school district has responded with the following statement:
SUSD has taken appropriate action in this case. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave per district policy.
It seems the girl’s family may feel differently.