NJ Teen Accused of Tackling, Punching Teacher During Class

A New Jersey teen is facing aggravated assault charges after police say he slammed one of his teachers to the ground and punched him repeatedly during class last week.

The 16-year-old, whose identity is not being released, was arrested after the attack Jan. 20 at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, police say.

Police say that the student went to class late and was being disruptive, then sat in the teacher’s seat when the teacher wrote the teen up.

The teacher, 62-year-old Khamis Aburmeilah -- Mr. A, as students called him -- then ordered the teen to go back to his seat, and that’s when police say he tackled the teacher. Once the two were on the ground, the teen punched Abdurmeilah in the upper body several times as other students in the classroom tried to pull him off the man.

Abdurmeilah complained about pain to his upper body and was treated for his injuries. 

Police say that the school reported the attack to an off-duty officer assigned to the school.

The teen was arrested Friday, and was later released to his guardian. He's suspended from school and awaiting a disciplinary hearing, according to school officials.

Paterson resident Yessica Morel was stunned by the video of the assault.

"I can't possibly imagine what the teacher said to make him react that way," she said.

At a Board of Education meeting Wednesday evening, the superintendent of schools declined to speak on camera, but a district spokeswoman said in a statement, "We will continue to work aggressively to ensure that the JFK Building is a safe place for teachers to teach and students to learn."

Abdurmeilah's wife told NBC 4 New York off camera that he is currently not working and isn't prepared to speak publicly about what happened. 

It's not the only recent assault at the school in recent weeks: Paterson police said more information about a student biting a security officer at the same school two weeks ago will be released Thursday. 

"I don't understand this generation, and I'm part of it," said Morel. "I don't get why they do stuff like that." 

-- Brynn Gingras contributed to this report. 

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