Mesquite ISD Substitute Teacher Fired for Encouraging Students to Fight in Class

Video shows what parents are calling a "fight club" in the classroom, with students allowed to fight one on one

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Mesquite ISD has fired a substitute teacher after an investigation revealed she encouraged students to fight each other in class.

The incident would've gone unnoticed if it wasn't caught on camera.

“I was devastated. I was like, I couldn’t watch the full video,” said Beatriz Martinez, whose daughter recorded the incident. “I had to stop it multiple times because I didn’t think it was real. I was like, this must be a prank. This is not real.“

NBC 5 blurred parts of the video to conceal student identities.

Martinez said it was like a fight club in class.

“There’s no explanation, she just wanted those kids to fight,” she said.

Mesquite ISD confirmed to NBC 5 that a substitute teacher allowed students to fight each other Wednesday afternoon at Kimbrough Middle School.

Beatriz’s daughter, who is remaining anonymous out of fear of retaliation, said the teacher even pushed desks aside to create a space for the 12 and 13-year-olds to brawl. Some left the classroom bleeding.

“Who in their right mind? Because I trust my child to go to school, but I also trust the staff to keep my kids safe. And then this lady, she just is actually making them fight,” Martinez said.

Mesquite ISD has fired a substitute teacher after an investigation revealed she encouraged students to fight each other in class. NBC 5's Alanna Quillen reports the incident would have gone unnoticed if it wasn't caught on camera.

The district confirms the teacher outlined rules for the students to follow and even instructed a student to keep watch at the door while fights took place.

In the video provided to NBC 5 and the school district, the teacher can be heard saying that she “does not want this on record” and threatened to take students’ phones away if they had them out.

In the video, a total of at least four students are seen fighting each other in two sets of one-on-one fights. It's unknown how many students engaged in fighting. A timer can be heard going off at points during the fights, with the teacher calling out "30 seconds" before one fight began.

Martinez' daughter said she had the substitute teacher two times before, with no incidents. She said the fights were encouraged after a conversation the students were having with the teacher.

Martinez said her daughter was being antagonized to fight three girls during the incident, as some called out names of students to fight each other. The fights concluded when the bell rang.

"She was really saved by the bell," Martinez said.

After learning of the incident, Mesquite ISD said it fired the substitute teacher and called parents whose students were in the class with an update on the situation and the response.

Mesquite ISD issued a similar statement to NBC 5 on Friday:

"The teacher involved was a substitute teacher employed by Mesquite ISD since March 6. As of yesterday, she is no longer employed by the district and is not eligible for rehire in any capacity. Our investigation revealed that this substitute teacher encouraged students to fight each other during class, outlined rules for the students to follow and even instructed a student to monitor the classroom door while the fights took place. Her actions are appalling and intolerable.

Yesterday afternoon, campus administrators personally contacted all parents of the students in the class by phone to inform them of the situation and the school’s swift response. As educators, our hearts are heavy knowing that an individual entrusted with the supervision and care of our students could behave in this manner, and we share the disgust that the families of students in this class must feel. MISD referred this matter to Mesquite Police to pursue possible criminal charges resulting from this former substitute’s reckless and irresponsible actions."

Martinez said the incident has led her to have concerns with the teachers that are brought into the district.

“Even if they’re short-staffed, take extra precautions for the substitute teachers. Is anybody monitoring them and their behaviors?” she said.

Martinez says her daughter is now getting threats from other students for reporting it, something she says is also unacceptable.

“I know my daughter. I know that she’s a sweet girl. And to just know that she’s getting death threats. I hate that,” she said.

NBC 5 has been unable to verify the substitute teacher’s identity through the district or police department.

In a statement on Friday, Mesquite Police said there are no arrests or charges but that the case is being actively investigated.

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