RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA (CBSLA.com) — Some parents want an Orange County teacher fired after he was allegedly caught on video pushing a teenager off a skateboard and attempting to assault another last year.
Parents of students at Cielo Vista Elementary in Rancho Santa Margarita said they don’t want their kids anywhere near instructor Thomas Hammer, who was back in class Monday after an extended leave.
His return infuriated parents so much that dozens of kids stayed home from school on Tuesday.
“Until we hear from the district that he will not be coming back to Cielo Vista, I am keeping my kids out of school,” mother Mindy Beck said.
“Actually, I feel sickened that he’s even allowed to come back on this campus, let alone any campus, and be one-on-one with students,” mother Karly Foster said.
Last year, a San Clemente man shot and posted a video on YouTube of a man police identified as Hammer. The man told KCAL9’s Michele Gile that two boys were skating on a sidewalk when Hammer walked away from an ATM machine and confronted them, saying they were breaking the law.
At one point in the video, Hammer grabs a skateboard and throws it up on a balcony.
The district attorney charged the 58-year-old with felony assault and felony grand theft.
The judge reduced the charges to one misdemeanor assault charge.
In a statement, the principal at Cielo Vista Elementary said Hammer came back when the charges were reduced.
“This change brought about a return to a work assignment. Although the employee did not return to a classroom teaching assignment…he was working with other teachers. He is on leave until further notice.”
If convicted, Hammer could get one year in county jail.