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High School Teacher Allegedly Forced Students to Sword Fight During Science Class, Student Permanently Injures Right Hand

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CBS News - The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of the student, identified only as N.S., by her grandparents and permanent guardians, Arnold and Judy Gachupin. According to the lawsuit, which was filed on Feb. 23, N.S. was a 16-year-old sophomore at Albuquerque Public Schools' Volcano Vista High School at the time. 

The incident began when the teacher, identified in the lawsuit as Loviata Mitchell, brought two swords into the school on May 2, 2022. She allegedly hid them from students, security staff and other school personnel, until the class that N.S. was in. At that point, Mitchell allegedly announced that she had "surprise" for her students, according to the lawsuit, and revealed the two swords. One was a katana-style sword with a "long, curved blade and sharp edge," according to the lawsuit, and the second was a rapier-style sword. Mitchell, according to the lawsuit, told the students the swords were props. 

After bringing out the weapons, Mitchell allegedly instructed the students to rearrange their desks and create a space in the middle of the classroom for pairs of students to fight. The fights were timed with a two-minute timer displayed on the classroom's projector, and filmed and photographed by other students, including N.S. Video footage of the fights was included in the lawsuit, and "shows Ms. Mitchell looking on approvingly." Mitchell had no certifications or experience in sword-fighting, the lawsuit said. 

N.S. was then called to fight, but shortly after the bout began, she was struck across her right forearm, wrist and hand by the katana-style sword, causing a "large and deep laceration" that began to bleed profusely, according to the lawsuit. Mitchell allegedly stated "I'm in trouble!" after the injury occurred, and ordered students to delete video recordings of the fights and to not tell anyone about them.

DISCLAIMER: I'm 99% certain this wasn't a special ed teacher. It was a science teacher. That's what every article says. This X-video appears to be lying for clicks. But this is the only clip of the actual video I could find on Twitter, and I didn't want to have to make you click a link to see it.

Now I don't want to jump to conclusions and immediately start shaming this teacher for thinking it would be appropriate to supply her students with katana and rapier style swords, set a 1-minute timer on the class jumbotron, and instruct them to fight gladiator style until one of them loses permanent control of her right hand. That's what the rest of the internet seems to be doing. But we're better than that here at Barstool Sports. We practice fair and honest reporting. So I'm going to do my journalistic duty and consider all sides of this argument. 

In defense of the students, this teacher appears to be entirely unconcerned with technique. If you do decide to teach sword fighting to your sophomores, you need to teach them the proper moves. Bring in a professional fencer, or a man in full medieval armor who frequents renaissance fairs. Somebody who knows what they're doing. Teach them how to defend themselves. If you're just going to have them swing at each other all willy nilly, someone is bound to get hurt. 

In defense of the teacher, sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. Sometimes you have to learn to do things for yourself. That's how things work in the real world. You need to find what works best for you when it comes to sword fighting. Maybe after 3-4 session, once her students became familiar with the blade, then she planned to bring in an expert. If this is the first time she's hosted a class sword fight, it makes sense that she'd have her students swing sword freely to get the basic feel of things.

In defense of the students, they are high school students. When they showed up to 4th period science class that day, it's reasonable for them to expect that they would be learning science. The scientific method, chemistry experiments, physics, zoology, The Big Bang/how god created Adam & Eve in a test tube and placed them at the foot of an apple tree where they met a snake who pressured them into sexual intercourse which resulted in life as we know it (depending on which district you're in). All the regular things you learn in high school science class. Nowhere in the sophomore curriculum does it teach, "sword fighting your friends"

In defense of the teacher, she's teaching at Volcano Vista High School. That's not the name of a place that is real. That's the name of a fictional school. Possibly a school featured in some sort of Hawaiian cartoon. I did a little Googling and found that Volcano Vista High School is located on Rainbow Blvd. That's basically Rainbow Rd. If you don't want wacky shenanigans going on in the classroom, then how about you give your school a serious name that doesn't have a Mario Kart address. What about "North Albuquerque High"?  That has a terrible ring to it, but at least it sounds like a school that would be attended by real life people.

In defense of the students, their teachers are supposed to be preparing them for college. They should be learning to read, write, study, take notes within their calculators so they can cheat in math class, all the things necessary to get themselves into a good college so they can someday achieve a diploma and land a steady job. A job that will support them financially and maybe even allow them to retire someday. Sword fighting isn't going to help with that.

In defense of the teacher... or will it? This student now has an enormous lawsuit on her single working non-dominant hand. If anything, this teacher fast tracked her life. Because of this teacher, this student may be able to skip step 2 (college) in it's entirety. How much money will she get? 1 million? 2 million? 10 million? It doesn't matter. All she needs is a few years salary to invest in bitcoin to the moon and she's set for the rest of her life. At least that's what I've been led to believe. 

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In conclusion, I don't think this teacher should have been hosting sophomore science class sword fights. But maybe we're being a little harsh on her. Maybe there are some reasons for this sword fighting lesson that the rest of the internet fails to see. Although in the future, I'd recommend teachers keep all combat related lessons to gym class. Just to be safe.