2 students, both 13, charged with assaulting teacher after shocking video surfaces online
Video shows 2 boys throwing punches at teacher inside downtown school
Two 13-year-old boys have been charged with assaulting a teacher at a public school in downtown Toronto last week after a shocking video surfaced online.
The incident took place inside a classroom at Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public School on March 19, according to police.
In the video, two students can be seen grabbing the teacher and throwing punches at his head repeatedly. The teacher appears to be pushing the students off in self-defence.
In a statement to CBC Toronto, the Toronto District School Board called the events seen in the video "deeply concerning."
Neither police nor the TDSB identified the man in the video, but several students and a teacher from the school told CBC Toronto he is a teacher.
Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu, a police spokesperson, said the man suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Sidhu said the boys turned themselves in and were charged with one count of assault each earlier this week.
TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said the board cannot comment on specific disciplinary actions but, "in general, physical assault can result in suspension and possible expulsion under the Education Act."
The names of the two accused are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
'I was horrified'
Joy Lachica, president of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto union, said she was "completely distraught" after watching the video of the incident.
"I was horrified," she told CBC Toronto. "To see something like this happen in the classroom, to see students witnessing it, and to see one of our members be the object of this sort of violence — it was very, very distressing."
After watching the seconds-long video, Lachica said it was clear to her that the teacher did his best to manage a situation that had spiraled out of control.
But she says the incident highlights a broader issue.
"We know that this is happening in classes," she said. "It is just heartbreaking and demoralizing to see that on a video stream like that."
Students have a variety of needs and profiles, Lachica says, and classrooms need more support from the provincial government to curb the vulnerability of teachers, as well as other students.
But she says recent changes by the provincial government to Ontario's autism program and class sizes could result in an increase of these types of confrontations.
"We need to shift this because this cannot continue."
With files from Derick Deonarain and Farrah Merali