Charges Upheld Against Teacher Assault Suspect

Less than a week after a caught-on-camera brawl involving dozens of students at a Philadelphia-area high school resulted in the arrests of six teens, one of those students, who police say knocked a teacher trying break things up out cold, was in court today.

The melee broke out Oct. 8 in a hallway outside the Upper Darby High School cafeteria. Last week, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood revealed the arrests of five minors and 18-year-old Jermaine Richardson.

Magisterial Judge Ann Beradocco held all counts against Richardson at a Tuesday morning preliminary hearing on assault, harassment, reckless endangerment and conspiracy charges, according to court records. He remained behind bars unable to post 10 percent of $30,000 bail.

His next court date is set for Nov. 20.

The riot, which was caught on video, left a 30-year-old male teacher who tried to intervene with a concussion and torn ligaments in his left leg, according to police.

"The teacher is knocked down, jumped on," Chitwood said.

The only suspect identified was Richardson who Chitwood said "cold-cocked" the teacher.

Chitwood said the incident started due to bad blood between a couple of groups at the nearly 4,000-student school. Anywhere from 60 to 70 students were involved in the brawl but only a handful were arrested.

"We are not going to tolerate this type of behavior," Chitwood said.

The other five suspects are minors, a 14-year-old, two 16-year-olds and two 17-year-olds, and face juvenile court charges, according to police.

None of the kids involved in the fight suffered major injuries.

Chitwood said he has been in communication with school officials since video surfaced following the brawl.

After the arrests, the school district released a statement that said they had conducted their own internal investigation and that they couldn't reveal any information about the students or teacher involved.

Chitwood said he had planned on taking the kids out of the school in handcuffs but that the kids were instead arrested at their homes since they had already been suspended.

Chitwood said he hopes this incident doesn't serve as an indictment on UDHS students as a whole.

"There are a lot of good students but you get a handful of knuckleheads that create a climate of unsafe environment," Chitwood said.

Chitwood said police along with school officials and school security are going to continue a "zero tolerance" policy for any disturbances.

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