California teacher facing misdemeanor, sued for dragging student on camera

Cell phone video captured a California teacher trying to drag a student into a swimming pool during P.E. class.
Cell phone video captured a California teacher trying to drag a student into a swimming pool during P.E. class.

STOCKTON, CA (KXTV/CNN) – A cell phone video captured a California teacher trying to drag a student into a swimming pool during P.E. class.

The teacher is now facing a charge of corporal injury to a child.

“His hands are right there at her chest area. She’s trying to cover her chest from being exposed,” said the student’s attorney Gilbert Somera.

It was back in August, when students at Edison High in Stockton were in a P.E. class at the school’s pool.

The teacher reacted this way when a 14-year-old girl said she wasn’t getting in the water.

Denny Peterson is the teacher. He’s been with Stockton Unified for 10 years.

The 95 second video, shot by another student, shows the teacher trying to drag the girl into the pool.

How he responded that day led to a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a child, and it will likely lead to a lawsuit.

“Regardless of her participation, or lack there of, it should disgust you how this man put his hands on a 14 year old girl. She said multiple times, my top is falling down,” said Somera.

Peterson was put on paid leave for a month, but then brought back and assigned to another Stockton school.

Only on Thursday, after KXTV told the district Peterson was being charged with a crime was he put on paid leave, again.

So why was the young lady so opposed to swimming that day?

She’d had her hair done that morning, for an event happening later that night.

Somera says the teacher had the option of academic punishment, but not this.

“No means no. Stop means stop. This isn’t a situation where she’s attacking a teacher and he’s defending himself. When a woman or 14-year-old girl says no, it means no,” Somera said.

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