CONCORD -- A teacher at Oak Grove Middle School has been placed on leave after a video surfaced that appears to show the instructor tapping a student with a rolled-up piece of paper, school district officials said.
The Mt. Diablo Unified School District and Concord police are investigating the incident, which occurred as one student took a cellphone video during a class. Information on when it happened has not been released.
Superintendent Steven Lawrence released a statement Thursday confirming the teacher was placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The identity of the teacher was not released, and school Principal Lisa Murphy Oates declined to comment on how long the teacher has been at the school or what classes the teacher instructs. She said both the teacher and the students have been questioned.
"Our priority is always student safety," Murphy Oates said. "We take it very seriously. Until we're able to get a clear idea of what occurred, it will remain a confidential matter, and a very important one."
The video, which was sent to Claycord.com and BayAreaNewsTalk.com, appears to show the teacher holding up a small, circular object similar to a rolled-up piece of paper. In the video, the teacher appears to tap one of the students, and laughter from other students can be heard in the background.
The relationship between the student taking the video and the one whom the teacher hit is not known, nor was the history of interactions between the student and teacher. Those details were part of the investigation, Murphy Oates said.
She also added that the student making the video was doing so in violation of school district policy, which prohibits students from having cellphones in the classroom.
Asked if the student who recorded the video might face disciplinary measures, she said it was possible, "depending on the investigation."
Murphy Oates said the staff at Oak Grove Middle School was informed of the video, and that the student body also would be informed. Many of the students already had seen the video on Facebook, she said.
"The most important thing is that we have to do things (regarding the investigation) directly and in order," Murphy Oates said. "We need to make sure that all people are treated fairly, not only the student but the teacher, as well."
One parent dropping off her son Tuesday morning said the video, while disturbing, did not color her opinion of the school and that she continues to have faith in the teachers there.
"It's a good school, and it has a lot of good teachers," Lorena Padilla said. "We don't know exactly what happened, either."
Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.