A former substitute teacher was arrested Thursday for his alleged involvement in starting a “fight club” at a Connecticut high school, according to published reports.
Ryan Fish, 23, was supposed to be supervising students at Montville High School. Instead, he allegedly encouraged students in his classroom to fight as others watched, KDVR-TV reported.
Cellphone video obtained by police allegedly shows Fish “moving items out of the way so the teenagers could continue fighting,” reports said.
Fish told KDVR that he “didn’t realize what was happening at the time. I didn’t have the training to know what was going on.”
State police gave a different account.
“He’s not a certified teacher,” Montville Resident State Trooper Sgt. Mark Juhola told KDVR. “It bothers me that so many teachers work so hard to get where they are and that this wasn’t a teacher but he was in that role.”
Fish allegedly organized at least three scheduled fights in October involving students ranging in age from 14 to 16, according to the report.
What excuse did he make?
Fish told KDVR he was wrong, and was just trying to be friends with the students.
“I am so sorry. ... To be perfectly honest, I was just trying to reach the kids," he told the TV station. "I thought these kids were just being rambunctious. I just thought they needed an out."
Montville police launched an investigation after an injured student told a social worker he had been beaten and robbed at school, according to the report.
After Fish was confronted about the fights Oct. 10, he allegedly told the principal, “Boys will be boys.”
Fish was fired by Montville Public Schools Superintendent Brian Levesque on the same day, according to the report.
Calling it “so-called ‘student slapping horseplay,” Levesque said, “At the time, based on the initial video that I viewed and the information I was provided, I didn’t feel that this was a law enforcement matter. Had I known then, what I know now, yes, I should have contacted police.”
What were the charges?
Fish was arraigned in Norwich Superior Court on Thursday on four counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of risk of injury to a minor, and one count of breach of peace, the Hartford Courant reported.
He released on a promise to appear and is scheduled to appear in court May 8.
Juhola told KDVR that no one contacted police but acknowledged the incident during a police investigation.
“Anytime a student is put in any type of injurious situation they need to contact the police department,” Juhola said.
According to the report, Fish allegedly allowed students to “draw lewd photos on the classroom board.” He also allegedly admitted to doing drugs.