Orcutt district settles lawsuit over teacher punching student

By CCT STAFF

The Orcutt Union School District paid a $75,000 settlement to a student last month whom a high school teacher allegedly bullied and punched.

On Aug. 21, 2017, Orcutt Academy High School teacher Ty Fredriks was in a school field with a group of students waiting to watch the solar eclipse.The student was standing with his girlfriend when the teacher punched him in the stomach, called him an idiot and cursed at him in front of his peers, according to a lawsuit filed by the student’s family.

In defense of his actions, Fredriks said the student was looking up at the sun without his safety glasses, and that he nudged the student in the stomach to get him to turn away.

According to the lawsuit, Fredriks had a history of bullying the student, who was under a 504 Plan. A plan that provides accommodations to students with disabilities or medical issues.

Following the alleged assault, the student’s father talked with school principal Rhett Carter about keeping the teacher away from his son. Following the father’s request, Fredriks pulled the student out of class to discuss the incident, according to the lawsuit.

The father then set up a meeting with school administrators. An hour before the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Susan Salucci pulled the student out of class to interview him without his parents and to promote Fredriks side of the incident, according to the lawsuit.

Shortly after a judge viewed video footage of the alleged assault, recovered from school security cameras, the district settled the case.

Orcutt Families for  Education Reform, a group fighting for access to fair and equal education for all students, is currently seeking to acquire a copy of the video.

Fredriks, Carter and Assistant Superintendent Susan Salucci were named in the lawsuit. The district settled the suit in July, agreeing to pay $75,000; $50,000 to the plaintiff and $25,000 to the plaintiff’s attorney

Fredriks is still teaching at Orcutt Academy, according to District Superintendent Deborah Blow.

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