Students at a California high school are petitioning for a security guard to get his job back after he was fired for attacking a special needs student in a wheelchair.
The petition comes as a second security guard was disciplined for having an altercation with the student on the same day.
Some teens at Oakland High School say the student, Francisco Martinez, who is 17 and has cerebral palsy, is a troublemaker.
School security guard Marchell Mitchell, 23, was dismissed by the school May 19 after he was caught on video beating Martinez after the student argued with the guard, slapped the guard's hand and spit on him.
“There are some students that like [the guard] and were sympathetic,” Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint told ABC News. “I think part of the response stems from the fact that many of the students view the attack as a peer to peer situation and they are thinking about what they would have done in that situation.”
But students are “overlooking the fact that the security guard is both an adult and a school employee with higher responsibility,” Flint said.
He confirmed some students had signed a petition for Mitchell to get his job back.
Some students claim Martinez provoked the attack by spitting on the guard and that the student often runs over people’s toes with his wheelchair, KTVU reported.
The school district maintains that Martinez is the only victim in the case.
A second video recently emerged showing another school security guard in an altercation with Martinez on the day that Mitchell was fired. That guard, Shalandra Cotton, has been placed on paid leave as the school investigates, Flint said.
There is no consideration of reinstating Mitchell, however, despite the petition, Flint said.
“We’re not giving it any consideration,” Flint said. “There is no conceivable scenario under which Marchell Mitchell will work for Oakland Unified School District again. His fate rests with the judicial system now.”
Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony corporal injury to a child. He’s scheduled for a pretrial hearing on June 16, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
The incident began when Mitchell tried to get Martinez to go to class, officials said. A scuffle ensued when Martinez resisted and slapped Mitchell’s hand away from his wheelchair. Mitchell handcuffed Martinez, who then spat at the guard, prompting the guard’s attack, video shows.
Martinez could not be reached for comment.