California High School Teacher Punches Student, Breaks Nose
Teacher placed on administrative leave by King City High School
Michael Ciccarelli, 45, is a history and civics teacher and wrestling coach who has taught at King City High School for 20 years. On November 21, he noticed that the boy, who has not been named, and a 15-year-old female relative of Ciccarelli were missing from wrestling practice. Both the kids were on the wrestling team and dating each other. According to the Monterey County Sherriff's office, Ciccarelli left the school and went to the boy's house. He literally knocked the door to the teen's bedroom off its hinges and found the two together in some state or other. Ciccarelli allegedly "punched John Doe with a closed fist several times in the face, and at one point kicked him in the face while he was on the ground," according to a sheriff's office release quoted by Gawker. The boy was treated for injuries at Mee Memorial Hospital, according to the Monterey County Herald.
Officers arrested Ciccarelli on Tuesday, three weeks after the alleged incident, when the county district attorney's office reviewed a report, according to the Californian story. That, in turn, set off an investigation by the South Monterey County Joint Union School District. "Anytime we get a report like this we need to do that (administrative leave) until we have all the facts of the case," said administrator Daniel Moirao.
Substitutes will take over Ciccarelli's classes, which include world history, honors world history, civics, and AP government and politics. An assistant coach will take over his duties with the wrestling team. The investigation is expected to take at least through the end of the school's winter break.
Ciccarelli's lawyer, Joseph Cisneros, of The Biegel Law Firm in Monterey, suggested to the Californian that the teacher had "used such action to protect a family member" and would ultimately be exonerated.
Breaking Bad theories of education aside, this is not the first time the school has found itself in a difficult position. King City lost its accreditation after senior graduation in 2007 because it was behind in leadership and collaboration in curriculum development, involvement of all stakeholders in improving learning, use of achievement data to modify the teaching process, teaching strategies and practices, and a collaborative and cohesive organizational structure, according to the Monterey County Herald.
The school regained its accreditation the next year before graduation but the entire school district was taken over by the state in 2009 because of "years of financial instability," according to the Monterey County Herald. There is a possibility that the district could regain local control by next year as the paper reports.
Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman