Crime - Sacto 911

McClatchy High School teacher arraigned on battery charges

Booking photo for McClatchy High School teacher David Fritz.
Booking photo for McClatchy High School teacher David Fritz.

The McClatchy High School teacher who allegedly wrestled a student last month during class was arraigned last week on two counts of battery.

David Fritz, 58, remains on paid administrative leave after he was captured on cellphone video wrestling a student from his desk to the ground the day before Halloween. Students brought the video to school administrators, and Fritz was subsequently removed from the classroom and arrested by police.

A complaint filed by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office last week prior to Fritz’s Nov. 18 arraignment said the teacher willfully and unlawfully used force and violence against two boys, both 15. Both of the charges are misdemeanors. Fritz is out on bail.

Sacramento City Unified School District spokesman Gabe Ross said the school’s internal investigation is still pending. He said officials would be interviewing witnesses as part of the probe.

A 7-second clip posted on Twitter shows a teacher dressed in sunglasses; a puffy, red, polka dot hat; and black shirt, growling and throwing a student to the ground while he’s still seated in his desk. The teacher appears to be grabbing for the student’s cellphone.

David Garcia, 15, was the student in the video. The 11th-grader told The Sacramento Bee in an interview that Fritz entered the English class singing and dancing, but then began cursing and yelling. Garcia said the teacher approached him for no known reason and pulled him from his desk.

Garcia said he laughed initially, then told Fritz to stop. Garcia said Fritz began teaching with no explanation of the behavior.

Fritz is a 20-year employee at McClatchy High School, according to the district. A man answering the phone at Fritz’s house Monday hung up when reached by a reporter.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang