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Classroom Beating: Florida Student Gets Pummeled While Teacher Sits Back

SARAH NETTER ABC News 12/02/2010 05:36
File photo

File photo

The pummeling of a Palm Beach, Fla., middle school boy by another student has infuriated the boy's family who say the teacher did nothing but sit by his computer while the fight raged in his classroom.

Video of the fight between Joshua Poole, 13, and his Jeaga Middle School classmate shows Poole swinging wildly as he is punched repeatedly before falling to the floor. The teacher's inaction was reportedly due to a school policy that staff can only intervene after undergoing training, according to the school district.

That type of "policy run amok" is a growing problem in schools across the country, according to Carol Kochhar-Bryant, a professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

"In the past there have been many families, if the child gets injured in any way by an intervention by a teacher, there have been instances where the teachers have been reprimanded," she said. "Those policies protect the school, they protect the teacher, but we are realizing now they don't protect the child in those situations."

Palm Beach County school district officials insist the teacher followed procedure during the middle school fight, which took place last month, and that he was not properly trained per district protocol to break up such altercations.

"When the students would not stop fighting, the teacher went to the hallway to get help," read a statement released by the school district. "Assistant Principal Brent Higley responded and helped stopped the fight."

Both students were discplined.