The student who was involved in a physical altercation with a teacher at Santa Monica High School last year pleaded no contest to using force against a school employee.

The fight, which was captured on a cellphone, made national headlines. It depicted science teacher and wrestling coach Mark Black fighting with a student for about a minute before the former brings the latter to the ground and holds him there.

Blair Moore, who was 18 years old at the time, and a 16-year-old male were arrested and ultimately charged by the Santa Monica Police Department.

Little information about the 16-year-old has been released because he was not an adult at the time of the incident, but Moore was headed for a jury trial this month until he accepted a plea deal in late March.

Moore will receive a year of probation, credit for time served in jail, and has been ordered to stay 100 yards away from Samohi and the three teachers who were involved with the fight, according to Santa Monica city attorney Melanie Skehar.

Moore originally faced five counts, including possession of a box-cutter and marijuana, but pleaded guilty to only the one.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District released little information about the specifics of the fight and a jury trial might have illuminated what brought Black to physically engage with Moore. Because Moore accepted a plea, little from the case will become public record. Calls to Moore’s attorney were not returned.

Black was placed on paid leave immediately following the fight.

District Superintendent Sandra Lyon released an initial statement calling the fight “utterly alarming” and “deeply disturbing.” She later apologized for the statement, calling it a “pre-judgement of the teacher’s conduct prior to an investigation.”

An online petition gathered tens of thousands of signatures in support of Black and was critical of Lyon. The fight occurred on the day before spring break and Black was reinstated before the break ended, never missing a day in the classroom.

After the fight, Samohi Principal Eva Mayoral briefed the Board of Education on improvements that need to be made at the school, but the board declined to discuss the specifics of the fight, citing privacy laws.

One of Mayoral’s “first-priority needs” was improving security response times at the school.

After the fight broke out, other teachers entered the room to help but couldn’t find the classroom phone. Administrators, Mayoral said, were all busy working on the new statewide Smarter Balanced make-up tests.

Students ran to the closest security guard, who was posted at the school’s entry gate on Seventh Street and Michigan Avenue.

“That person, rather than leaving that post to go and work on the situation, (made) the first radio transmission,” Mayoral said.

It was the first radio call about the incident but it got cut off by other unrelated transmissions.

“People didn’t know where to go,” she told the board. “This was a problem. As people tried to scramble, too many people were on the radio, everyone was talking over each other.”

In response, school officials have developed a “Code Red” call for the radios that effectively means everyone, except those involved with the incident, need to clear the air.

Mayoral also made clear to security officers that they need to leave their posts if there is an ongoing emergency.

dave@smdp.com

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