Teacher Stephen Wesley Ran Fight Club in Class (But Forgot About the Surveillance Tapes)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm
In 2008, he was a teacher at a juvenile probation camp in San Fernando, California. It seems rival gang members in his class had a problem with each other. So Wesley told them to battle it out.
In the tape, he can be heard multi-tasking -- simultaneously serving as referee and lookout while kids boxed away. His rules for fighting: don't draw blood, no punches to the face, and please don't injure your opponent where it can be seen. Most important: Don't tell anyone about this.
Alas, anyone who's ever been in a fight knows these rules are impossible to uphold.
Probation officers monitoring surveillance cameras saw students fighting in Wesley's classroom and arrived to break it up. But some kids had broken the rules against being visibly injured. So the officers reviewed the day's tape and found that Wesley was pretending to be a discount Don King.
He was fired five days later. But wheels of justice apparently move very, very slowly in California. He wasn't charged with child endangerment until yesterday -- a year and a half after his crimes were caught on tape.
Wesley denies any knowledge of classroom fights, apparently arguing the tapes are a mirage. The former marine and father of five contends the probation camps are war zones, and that he'd never go back. But he neglects to mention that every teacher is armed with a panic alarm in case they feel threatened.
For another great moment in the California justice system, see our previous story on the Murder of Chelsea King, who's killer repeatedly violated parole, only to keep his freedom and kill little girls.