Teen accused of punching officer returns to school - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Teen accused of punching officer returns to school

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The head of the San Diego Schools Police Officers Association on Monday expressed outrage after a student accused of punching an officer during wild brawl at Lincoln High School was allowed to return to class for the new school year. 

The association claimed the district promised to not let the student back on campus after February's altercation, but on Monday night the district said no such deal was made. 

It's been six months the the violent melee at Lincoln High School was caught on cell phone video. The altercation sent a school police officer to the hospital with head trauma, and one of the students was accused of assault. 

Jesus Montana is president of the San Diego Schools Police Officers Association. According to Montana, the district agreed last spring the 16-year-old student would not return to Lincoln High. 

In a statement, Superintendent Cindy Marten said, "There are people who think we should expel every student who makes a mistake. On the other side, there are people who want to remove all police officers from schools. My job as superintendent is to keep our students safe while giving them the best education possible, and I accept that will not make everyone happy." 

Montana stressed the union's opposition is not directed toward the student himself. 

"We are not against the student. We are against the fact the process was not followed - supported by their employer," he said. 

For her part, Marten said she has always showed strong support for law enforcement. 

Below is the full statement from the San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten. 

There are people who think we should expel every student who makes a mistake. And, on the other side, there are people who want to remove all police officers from schools. My job as Superintendent is to keep our students safe while giving them the best education possible, and I accept that will not make everyone happy.

Nothing is more important than keeping our students safe. Since becoming Superintendent, we have taken numerous steps to improve safety. These changes are working. We have one of the safest large, urban districts in the nation. We are working with school police and the schools to ensure that the students and officers have what they need to work together in peace and have safe environments that result in successful outcomes for all parties involved.

My partner in this work has been Chief Littlejohn, who is an outstanding officer and a role model for all our children.  I talk frequently with Chief Littlejohn. I trust him to tell me whether his officers have everything they need to perform at the highest level. Based on their strong results, I will continue to believe they are operating efficiently until he tells me otherwise.

I think we all must acknowledge this has been a difficult summer for the law enforcement community. They have seen their colleagues senselessly gunned down from Dallas to the streets of our own city. So, it's up to us as leaders to recognize our police men and women are feeling very vulnerable at this time. They need our support.

For my part, I have always shown strong support for law enforcement. I went with Chief Littlejohn to be at the hospital bedside of the officer injured at Lincoln. I continue to hope for that officer's full recovery.

At the same time, I've been clear the primary job of the schools is educating children, and we cannot let anything get in the way of their access to a good education.

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