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A physical education teacher at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood was arrested March 1 after allegedly assaulting a student outside the boys’ locker room.
Jorge Chavez, 33, was booked for corporal injury on a child and could be charged with felony assault pending the outcome of an investigation.
“There are still a lot of witnesses to be interviewed and two sides to be heard,” said Officer Bruce Borihanh, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.
The incident occurred Feb. 28 around 10 a.m. Chavez allegedly punched and slammed the male student, but Chavez reportedly denied the charges and said the student tried to force his way into the locker room and began swinging and cursing at Chavez when he was denied entry.
Chavez had been working at Bernstein High for just six days when the incident occurred. He previously worked as a teacher at Nimitz Middle School for four years and held a temporary teaching position at another school from October 2010 until February.
“It’s a personnel matter and I’ve got to protect the confidentiality of everyone involved,” said Angela Hewlett-Bloch, principal at Bernstein High.
The student was treated at a nearby hospital emergency room with visible injuries. There are reportedly photographs showing a big welt on the student’s face but they had not been released by the district. The student reportedly also had visible injuries to the face, lip, and jaw, according to Borihanh.
Chavez, who had no prior criminal history involving violence, was released on $50,000 bail and, according to a Los Angeles Unified School District spokesperson, was reassigned to a non-campus position where no students are present pending the result of the investigation.
Borihanh added that there was no set timetable on when the investigation would be completed and handed over to the district attorney’s office, which will decide whether to formally file charges.
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