Lawsuit claims Riverview teacher punched student; seeks $75K in damages

Suit claims teacher has hit students on multiple occasions and district let it go

RIVERVIEW, Mich. – It was around Valentine's Day when things got out of hand in Jody Slavin's son's classroom at Riverview Community High School.

It was "Free Hug Day" at the school. When students surrounded the technology teacher offering a hug, he told them to leave him alone. After they didn't listen, he punched one of the students in the mouth.

Slavin said she was mortified until she heard the whole story from her son.

"I think the situation just got out of control in the classroom," she said. "The kids kind of came up on him and surrounded him and he was telling them no. And they put their hands on him."

That incident put the teacher's job in jeopardy, but students rallied around the well-liked teacher. Now the victim has filed a lawsuit against the teacher and the Riverview Community School District seeking $75,000 in damages.

The suit claims the student has suffered severe physical, psychological and emotional injuries, as well as serious impairment to his academic and social development because of the incident.

The lawsuit alleges before the February incident the district let the teacher's inappropriate behavior go unchecked, claiming the teacher would hit students in the testicles, used profanity, made inappropriate comments, used squirt guns to spray students with water and hit students in the back of the head.

Slavin said she sympathizes with the victim. The teacher has a lot of supporters.

"I think it would be pretty hard on that kid because that is a beloved teacher," said Slavin.