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Special education teacher organized & refereed classroom ‘fight club’, cops say

‘This was not a self-defense class.’

A California special education teacher was arrested Saturday for allegedly holding mixed-martial arts fights between his high school students.

According to The Press Democrat, Federico Vargas, 41, is facing five counts of endangering a child and 13 counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors for multiple brawls that occurred in his classroom. Police said the Cloverdale High School teacher produced “a ‘fight club’-style atmosphere” in which he  “not only allowed the students to fight each other in the classroom but refereed the fights.”

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Police alleged that a student filmed one of the organized fights, which they said all occurred in Vargas’ classroom. More than one student was reportedly injured during these matches, including a teen who required medical treatment. However, authorities didn’t reveal the nature of their injuries or when these fights began.

“This was not a self-defense class,” Cloverdale police Sergeant Chris Parker told People. “It is punching each other, fighting until the other person submits.”

Parker described the fights as “bodying,” a form of fighting where opponents don’t hit each other in the face. He said that desks were moved and students would form in a circle.

The magazine reported that the special education class was comprised of 12 students, both male and female, who were 15 to 17 years old.

“It is something you wouldn’t think would occur inside of a classroom,” Parker told People.

“I don’t know what lesson he was trying to teach but it is the wrong lesson.”

According to KABC, another teacher learned of the alleged fights and reported it to officials, who then contacted law enforcement.

Vargas is currently free on bail. He’s reportedly on leave as the school district investigates.

“It hit me in the gut. It hurts me to know that potentially some of our students in this town were placed in a situation that was unsafe, based on the allegation,” Cloverdale School District superintendent Jeremy Decker told the news station.

People reported that Sonoma County prosecutors haven’t officially filed charges in this case. A court hearing is scheduled for March 19.

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[Featured image: KTVU video screengrab]