A substitute teacher in Texas has been fired after an investigation found she ran a fight club in the classroom and encouraged middle school students to fight.
The substitute, Natalie Garcia, 24, was expelled immediately and now faces a criminal investigation over the incident, a Mesquite Independent School District official told DailyMail.com Saturday.
The horrific incident took place Wednesday at Kimbrough Middle School in Mesquite, on the outskirts of Dallas, and was captured in part on cellphone video obtained by KXAS-TV.
The disturbing footage depicts classroom desks pushed into a circle to create a “fighting ring” where pairs of 12-13-year-old students fight and the alternate looks on while warning the class not to film, saying “I don’t want this on the record.”
The school district said, “Our investigation revealed that this substitute teacher encouraged students to fight each other during class, set rules students had to follow, and even instructed a student to watch the door to the classroom while fights were occurring.”
This substitute teacher in Texas was fired after an investigation found she ran a fight club in the classroom and encouraged middle school students to fight
Shocking footage depicts classroom desks pushed into a circle to create a ‘fighting ring’ where pairs of students aged 12-13 fight
Mesquite ISD confirmed in a statement that it had fired the substitute teacher seen in the footage and referred the matter to police for a criminal investigation, saying, “Her actions are appalling and intolerable.”
A Mesquite Police Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Saturday morning.
“I was devastated,” Beatrice Martinez, whose daughter recorded the incident, told a local NBC affiliate. I was like, I couldn’t watch the full video.
I had to turn it off a few times because I didn’t think it was real. I was like, this must be a joke. “It’s not true,” added the exasperated mother.
Some students left the classroom covered in blood, Martinez said, though it was unclear if there were any serious injuries in the scuffles.
‘Who is in their right mind?’ Because I trust my child to go to school, but I also trust the staff to keep my children safe. And then this lady, she just actually makes them fight,” Martinez said.
Video of the incident shows at least two students being placed in the fighting ring to brawl in a one-on-one fight.
Martinez said her daughter was afraid she would be forced to fight, too, as students called the names of the other kids to fight, but she was “saved by the bell” when the period ended.
“The teacher in question has been a substitute teacher who has been employed by Mesquite ISD since March 6,” Mesquite ISD said in a statement.
“As of yesterday, she is no longer employed in the District and is not eligible for re-employment in any capacity,” the statement added.
The Mesquite Independent School District has confirmed that it has fired the substitute teacher seen in the footage and has referred the matter to police for criminal investigation.
The horrific incident occurred Wednesday at Kimbrough Prep School in Mesquite, on the outskirts of Dallas
On Thursday, the district said, “campus officials personally contacted all parents of students in the class by phone to inform them of the situation and the school’s prompt response.”
“As educators, our hearts are heavy when we know that an individual charged with supervising and caring for our students could act in this way, and we share the disgust the families of the students in this class must feel,” the district said.
MISD has referred this matter to the Mesquite Police to pursue possible criminal charges resulting from this former surrogate’s reckless and irresponsible actions.
This is not the first time that school officials have been accused of encouraging or allowing student fight clubs.
In 2018, another video surfaced showing a substitute teacher at a Connecticut high school urging his students as they punched each other in a ‘fight club’-style brawl.
The substitute teacher in this case was criminally charged, but was granted a pre-trial diversion by the judge, allowing the charges to be dropped after successful completion of the probation.
Charges were also filed against the school principal and principal, claiming that they knew of the “Fight Club” but did not report it to the police. These charges were later dropped.