Teachers Busted for Grade-School Grappling Match

By Mariel Smith
|  Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010  |  Updated 6:57 AM EDT
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Fight Club, 4th Graders Edition

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This is not what school is supposed to be like

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Fight Club, 4th Graders Edition

Two NYC teachers are accused of refereeing a bloody wrestling match in the classroom. Really.
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Two fourth graders from Queens were left bloodied and bruised after they wrestled each other under the instruction of their teacher and a para-professional.

Teacher Joseph Gullotta, 29 and school aide Abraham Fox, 43 were arraigned on Jan. 30 on child endangerment charges, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Each man faces one year in jail if convicted.

The fourth-grade fight club took place at 9 a.m. on Jan. 28 in P.S. 65 in Ozone Park, after Tomas Rivera, 10, argued with a classmate and Gullotta allegedly told the kid to take his frustration out on an innocent bystander, Justin Stokel, 9, instead.

As Rivera and Stokel grabbed each other's arms and shoulders, Gullotta allegedly instructed a female student to close the door and told the other students to keep their distance.

During the wrestling match, the back of Rivera's head was bruised after striking Stokel in the lower lip, which was left swollen and bloody.

Fox was inside the classroom and allegedly did not stop the boys from fighting nor help them get immediate medical attention.

Two hours passed before Gullotta told Stokel to go to the nurse alone -- allegedly instructing the boy to lie about the cause of the injury, saying that he and Rivera bumped into each while picking up a pencil at the same time, prosecutors said.

Gullotta then walked Rivera to the nurse and allegedly told him to repeat the same story as Stokel.

A parent of one of the boys found out about the fight after overhearing him talk about it.

The Daily News reported that Gullotta was reassigned and Fox was suspended without pay.

Gullotta and Fox are ordered to return to court on February 25.

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