Email List

To join our e-mail list, please enter your e-mail address. You can unsubscribe at any time.






Santa Monica High School wrestling coach Mark Black with student Jessica Walker in February 2013.
Mirror Archives/Photo By Roger Morante
Santa Monica High School wrestling coach Mark Black with student Jessica Walker in February 2013.

News, Samohi, Santa Monica

Online Petition To Reinstate Santa Monica High Teacher Reaches 3,500 Signatures

Posted Apr. 7, 2014, 9:34 am

Staff Report

An online petition to reinstate a Santa Monica High School teacher involved in a physical altercation with a student has collected more than 3,500 signatures while a Facebook group “We Support Coach Black of Samohi” has passed 10,000 members.

On Friday, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District superintendent Sandra Lyon wrote to parents via email at 3:30 pm saying that a teacher had been placed on leave after a physical altercation with a student inside a classroom earlier in the day.

That teacher has since been identified as Mark Black, a long-time science teacher and wrestling coach at the school.

According to online petition creator Timothy Conley (Alumni 1995), the student was in possession of marijuana that he was attempting to sell in the classroom.  

“As Mr. Black attempted to confiscate the drug and stop the illegal distribution, he was attacked by the student,” Conley said. “In an attempt to protect himself and not injure the student in question, Mr. Black, a wrestling coach with over 30 years experience, placed the student in a restraint hold to stop the student from further attacking him. This was in an effort to get the situation under control until the proper authorities could be contacted.”

SMMUSD school officials have not released details of what sparked the confrontation.

Post a comment


Apr. 7, 2014, 10:01:50 am

mike cates said...

I am writing this as a Calif. Cred. Secondary Teacher! This was clearly a Teacher with Values and had the Heart and Soul to stop a Bad Situation IN THE CLASS ROOM! The Class room is not for Selling Drugs!!

Apr. 7, 2014, 10:40:22 am

suzann jones said...

teacher was defending himself !!!!!!!!!

Apr. 7, 2014, 10:58:08 am

Jerry Rubin said...

I am very aware that Mr. Black is a dedicated teacher with much support and likely will be reinstated. And Sandra Lyon is a dedicated superintendent as well. The in place process and investigation might lead to approaches that more effectively keep drugs and violence out of our schools and out of our lives.

Apr. 7, 2014, 12:31:11 pm

Scottie Ford said...

Shame on Sandra Lyon and the School Board what us wrong with them? How can I sign the petition?

Apr. 7, 2014, 1:19:14 pm

pat gainor said...

Coach Black did the right thing!

Apr. 7, 2014, 1:22:58 pm

Gloria said...

Coach Black is being made a scapegoat...from what I hear...he did a single leg take down. The coach has 30 years behind him...he's been vilified needlessly and I believe he should be taken off of leave and returned to teaching.

Apr. 7, 2014, 3:42:09 pm

Casey Arnold said...

It is Bullshit a man can not be allowed to defend themselves. My opinion is the school management need be questioned instead for not defending him

Apr. 7, 2014, 5:05:50 pm

david van aken said...

Would love to see more teachers like Mark Black. Instead of turning a blind eye to the drug dealing he did something about it. Sandra Lyon should be ashamed of herself.

Apr. 7, 2014, 5:06:14 pm

Veronica Hubbard said...

The Teacher did nothing wrong...and I wish him well..

Apr. 7, 2014, 8:34:09 pm

Armando Zepeda said...

My son is scheduled to go to this high school in two years. If the teacher is not reinstated, I will reconsider sending him there. I don't like the message it is sending out to all the other teachers that teach there.

Apr. 7, 2014, 9:01:04 pm

Lucina Islas said...

I'm in Houston, Tx and I think the Mr. Black did the right thing, he has my full support, this is what we all must do to stop selling drugs to our children.

Apr. 7, 2014, 9:46:44 pm

Mary said...

Teachers who sexually molest children can stay in the classroom for years, but teachers who restrain drug sellers in the classroom are placed immediately on leave? I support Coach Black, and a return to the practice of common sense

Apr. 7, 2014, 11:34:07 pm rickacosta said...

MR.Black; did nothing wrong.he was defending himself. Poor judgement from superententant. He should be back at school. Perhaps she is not doing a good job at running the district. Forget being political correct.

Apr. 8, 2014, 1:54:22 am

Robert (Bob) Smith said...

What Ms Lyon and the Board don't seem to understand, is that Mr Mark Black. Science Teacher

Apr. 8, 2014, 2:17:44 am

t wootton said...

This student was clearly in the wrong. I would hope that his parents would see that too! Keep the teachers who try to stop criminal behavior, please!

Apr. 8, 2014, 3:28:04 am

Diane said...

Two students have now been arrested on criminal charges. Drug dealers with box cutters can kill and Coach Black is a hero.

Apr. 8, 2014, 8:31:25 am

Scott E said...

As a Peace officer working with Kids of this story, and a former Credentialed Sub, I know when Push becomes a Slug by a minor or in this Case an Adult Drug dealer, I am trained to Pivot and perri. When that fails, Its on and I am not going to the Hospital unless the assailant is 1st in line! I Support Coach Black and its a green light on these scum who infest our schools.

Apr. 8, 2014, 10:09:28 am

Ana said...

where are his parents? We need to teach PARENTS the role of parents

Apr. 8, 2014, 10:28:47 am

Tom Caine said...

Coach Black you did the right thing. Stand Tall and hold your head up.. I am retired Law Enforcement and if I was closer I would stand with you. To hell with the Administrators, they are part of the bigger problem in this society. May they and their families reap what they sow !!!!

Apr. 8, 2014, 11:52:56 am

Sally D Williams said...

I support Coach Blacks actions 100 %. Maybe the schools need to add a security button in every teachers class, so when a situation arises as such. They can press a button and security comes with no one ever knowing.

Apr. 8, 2014, 1:11:16 pm

Todd said...

Reinstate this man. It's too bad that teachers have to put up with this crap.

Apr. 8, 2014, 1:17:42 pm

Deborah Davis said...

This teacher should receive a raise. You need to remove your pathetic superintendent. Kudos to this teacher who was brave enough to put a stop to criminal students. SHAME ON YOU, MS. SUPERINTENDENT.

Apr. 8, 2014, 1:47:44 pm

Philip Millard said...

This was not only a clear case of self defense, but also a case of a teacher protecting his students.

Apr. 8, 2014, 3:08:51 pm

Jim Lenhart said...

I have known Mark for over 35 years since I was in high school. He is one of the nicest men you will ever meet. After viewing that video I respect him even more. Hang in there Mark, you're one of the good guys!!

Apr. 8, 2014, 4:36:27 pm

Dominic vadala said...

Teacher was in the right.

Apr. 8, 2014, 6:15:01 pm

David and Yolanda Zapata said...

We as a Christian family support the coach on his decision to use the tactics and keep from harming the student. The parent of the student said why did he not call security there was not time. Why do they not just own up that their son was in the wrong by first having drugs, second attacking the teacher and third having a box cutter. If this were the parent believe me they would have reacted differently. They need to fire the Superintendent for not standing by the good decision of the teacher.

Apr. 8, 2014, 6:35:18 pm

Cindy said...

Mr. Black was trying to keep drugs out of his classroom! Does any parent or administrator want drugs in the classroom. Totally support Mr. Black.

Apr. 8, 2014, 7:02:31 pm

GinaMarie Chase said...

I fully support Coach Black. Reinstate him ASAP

Apr. 8, 2014, 7:03:18 pm

Nico Antonio said...

I fully Support Coach Black. Reinstate him ASAP

Apr. 8, 2014, 7:03:59 pm

Greenich Chase said...

I fully Support Coach Black. Reinstate him ASAP

Apr. 8, 2014, 7:04:57 pm

Greenich Chase, Jr. said...

I fully support Coach Black. Reinstate him ASAP

Apr. 8, 2014, 8:05:16 pm

Natalie said...

Good job that this teacher did something about a stupid desicion a student made in class. I support him %100. And if course the family of the student would defend him and say hes a good boy. Not all kids are good.

Apr. 8, 2014, 10:28:55 pm

Dante Crespo said...

I work in Santa Monica and have attended the school system here in Los Angeles. It doesn't surprise me that students have access to drugs with more direct availability now then ever. When it comes to the protection and influences to other students "drugs can't be on premise". So when it comes to the defense of protocol when a teacher is attacked by a young adolescent, I do find it Valiant how a teacher wouldn't punch back but rather defend by taking the legs of the assailant. Let this be a lesson to future hoodlums!!!

Apr. 8, 2014, 11:39:38 pm

Omar Pinto said...

Coach black.. uno de los mejores entrenadores y hombre humilde que aun fuere de este pais apoya a gente. No importandole el color de tu piel o que idioma hables.. I support coach Black!!

Apr. 9, 2014, 2:10:52 pm

Lynne Culwell said...

He did what needed to be done.

Apr. 10, 2014, 6:02:16 pm

Maria Vargas said...

In my opinion, superintendent Sandra Lyon, should be fired, because she did not took into consideration the safety of the rest of the student.

Apr. 16, 2014, 4:09:09 pm

Ron Speers said...

I would like to shake Mr. Black's hand.! Ron Speers ASB President W'52

SM Mirror TV