Posted: 7:56 p.m. Monday, June 4, 2012

Video shows teacher hitting student in middle school hallway

teacher goes after student
School security video shows teacher Michael Torregano shoving a student against the wall, and then start swinging at him.

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teacher goes after student photo
The incident happened in the hallway of Pointe South Middle School March 26.
teacher goes after student photo
The incident is highlighted in a newly filed lawsuit saying A.P. and others went to the office to report the incident, but later a school worker used a bullhorn to call A.P. a snitch.

By Mark Winne

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —

Channel 2 Action News has obtained video of a teacher going after a student in the middle of a school hallway.

School security video shows the teacher shoving a student against the wall, and then start swinging at him.

Late Monday afternoon Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne found out the teacher quit after seeing the video.

Clayton County Schools Human Resources Chief Douglas Hendrix said the teacher involved in the incident resigned before disciplinary proceedings got very far.

"I wouldn't feel safe back in that classroom with him," the student said, who asked to go by A.P.

The student said she's 13 and she used to like to watch her chorus teacher, Michael Torregano Jr., dance his hands over the keys of a piano.

But she told Winne she was horrified to see him use those hands to strike another student in the hallway of Pointe South Middle School March 26.

"I saw Mr. Torregano push him and call him the 'N word' and started punching him," A.P. said.

A police report indicates a student walked up behind Torregano and bumped him, forcing him off balance. It indicates Torregano took the student to the wall and struck him several times.

The report said, "Deangelo (the student who was hit) stated that he and Mr. Torregano usually play like this, but on this day Mr. Torregano became serious."

"Deangelo, he was, he was just scared. He wasn't hitting back or anything," A.P. said.

Records indicate a warrant against the teacher was denied at the request of the student's parents.

An official said a simple battery charge against the student was dropped.

"We were in the process of taking necessary disciplinary action and Mr. Torregano decided that he would resign," Hendrix said.

"God has gotten us through this, our faith, teaching our children not to look at the situation for what it is but just to believe that everyone's not that way," A.P.'s mother said, who asked not to be identified.

Now the incident is highlighted in a newly filed lawsuit. Lawyer Julie Oinonen said it seeks to have the school system honor open-records requests filed by the family of "A.P." who witnessed the incident.

"We'll be more than happy to honor any open records request," Hendrix said.

The suit suggests A.P. and others went to the office to report the incident, but later a school worker used a bullhorn to call A.P. a snitch.

"The school district will be looking into it," Hendrix said.
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