A teenage girl was left permanently disabled after her chemistry teacher decided to give a lesson on “metal and fusion” by bringing samurai swords to school and making students fight with them.
Loviata Mitchell, 45, cleared away classroom desks at Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before staging a series of two-minute bouts.
Then he exclaimed, ‘I’m in trouble!’ and she ordered the students to delete the videos of her when a katana severed the nerves and tendons of a girl’s hand seconds later.
A school investigation concluded that Mitchell did not violate any rules, but now she and the school district are being sued. by the 16-year-old’s family after surgery failed to repair the damage.
“I spoke to his surgeon and he could actually feel where the sword had left a mark on the bone,” said family attorney Jessica Hernandez.
Video filmed by the girl shows two classmates wielding swords at each other seconds before their fateful combat in the Volcano Vista High School classroom.
Chemistry teacher Loviata Mitchell brought the weapons for a lesson on “metal and fusion.”
But his 16-year-old student was left permanently disabled after a sword severed the nerves and tendons in her hand while confronting a classmate.
“These injuries cause him constant daily pain, as well as preventing him from performing many basic daily tasks.”
Mitchell told students, ‘I have a surprise for you’ when the lesson began in May 2022, the lawsuit claims.
Pulling out a katana and rapier, he cleared a space in the center of the class and set a two-minute timer on a monitor.
Footage of the first fight filmed by the girl shows two boys without face shields or protective equipment cautiously clashing their meter-long swords while Mitchell leans on a sink with a smile on his face.
Both seemed to emerge unharmed, but seconds later it was the girl’s turn who entered the makeshift arena to confront a classmate identified in the documents as ‘DM’.
“DM struck NS on his right forearm, wrist and hand with the katana-style sword,” he records.
“NS suffered a large, deep laceration to his right hand and wrist not consistent with a prop sword.”
Mitchell allegedly told students not to report how the injury occurred and tried to call the school health office but “didn’t know how to do it.”
Mitchell watched smiling as his students tried not to hurt each other.
The girl’s lawyers say this katana was one of the weapons used that day.
Mitchell uploaded this photo to celebrate her Master’s Degree in Special Education in Spring 2021.
She herself had experienced sharp and scary objects up close on Halloween 2020.
“When NS began to feel nauseated and weak from blood loss, another student ran to the VVHS health office for medical assistance,” court documents report.
It was 20 minutes before the girl was allowed to call her family, and another 10 before a school health aide finally called 911 and EMS took her to an emergency room.
“It’s shocking that this little girl is bleeding in a classroom and paramedics aren’t called for 30 minutes,” Hernandez said.
‘So those are also procedures that Albuquerque Public Schools needs to address to make sure that, one, this doesn’t happen.
“But if a student is injured, what is going to be done immediately to make sure they get the care they need?”
Deputy Chief Manuel Algaza is also being sued after his investigation cleared Mitchell of the “accident.”
‘In response to the report’s question: ‘Did the injury violate school rules?’ Mr. Alzaga checked a box that indicated “No,” the lawsuit states.
The girl has endured a series of operations, physiotherapy and mental health counselling, and continues to struggle with tasks such as pressing buttons, closing zippers and cooking.
“Despite this surgical repair of NS’s nerves and tendons, it was not possible to completely repair them and they remain damaged,” Hernandez said.
‘As a result, his wrist and hand are permanently injured. These injuries cause ongoing daily pain and prevent you from performing many basic daily tasks.
“When you’re 16, when you get hurt like that and suddenly you can’t do the same things you used to do, it’s really discouraging. It is depressing. It’s isolating.’
A school district spokesperson told NBC that Mitchell was fired two months later, but could not confirm it was related to the incident.
The civil suit was filed last week in New Mexico’s Second Judicial District Court by the girl’s grandparents, Arnold and Judy Gachupin, who are her guardians.
A spokesperson for Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) said they were prohibited from commenting on active litigation.
Mitchell seems to like dangerous accessories judging by this photo he posted to Facebook just a day after bringing his swords to school.
“Not only did this teacher and APS fail to protect this child, they actively put her in danger, actively created this danger, and put deadly weapons directly into the hands of these students,” Hernandez said. KOAT.com.
‘What happened was exactly what could reasonably be anticipated.
‘If I am a parent and I take my children to school, I think they will be safe.
“I think the teachers are going to protect them, and here the opposite happened.”