A.C. Teacher Intervenes in Fight, Gets Fired

Phillip Eisenstein: "I did what I had to do to protect the other student."

Atlantic City beach and boardwalk at twilight

Photo | Dan McQuade

An Atlantic City teacher has been fired, accused of using excessive force after intervening in a fight between sixth graders.

The Press of Atlantic City reports Phillip Eisenstein is appealing his firing. The incident took place in October; Eisenstein said that he grabbed the instigator of the fight under the arms and took him to the office at New York School.

“I’d already broken them up two or three times and had them sitting on the bleachers,” he told the paper. “But when they were lining up to leave, the bigger student went after the other one again and had him cornered. I did what I had to do to protect the other student.”

School officials declined comment. The Press noted that teachers often bear responsibility if they don’t intervene in fights — but also if they do. The Atlantic City school district reported 110 fights during the 2014-15 school year.

“It’s an individual decision,” said Dewane Parker, the district’s former security chief. “But security can’t be everywhere, and teachers do help.”