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Indianapolis Public Schools Teacher Accused in Lawsuit of Running “Fight Club” for Elementary School Students

— April 17, 2024

An attorney for the mother of a 7-year-old boy was filmed while being beaten by a classmate noted that Indianapolis Public Schools never disciplined the teacher allegedly behind the “fight club”-style assaults.

A recently-filed lawsuit accuses an Indianapolis Public Schools teacher of organizing a “Fight Club”-style disciplinary system in which rebellious elementary school students were either encouraged or required to resolve through differences through physical assault.

According to The Indianapolis Star, the complaint—filed Tuesday in Maron Superior Court—features video evidence, allegedly filmed by the defendant teacher and depicting two students attacking one another with the teacher’s approval.

During the fight, one of the students can be seen crying on the floor, while another boy repeatedly punches him in the face and slams his head on the floor.

“That’s right,” the teacher can be heard saying, “you get him!”

The complaint, writes the Star, was filed on behalf of the 7-year-old victim and his mother. It names defendants including Indianapolis Public Schools, the teacher behind the so-called “fight club,” and multiple members of staff at George Washington Carver Montessori IPS School 87.

Attorneys for the family say that, while attending Montessori IPS School 87, the boy was subjected to a “systematic and severe pattern of abuse.”

“We’re alleging that there was knowledge about this, [and] it took a video coming out and it took a parent demanding that the police and [the Indiana Department of Child Services] was called,” attorneys Catherine Michael and Tammy Meyer told The Indianapolis Star.

“It appears that this was being used as a disciplinary technique in his classroom. Instead of beating a child senselessly himself, at least according to what we have, he was allowing another child to do it,” Michael said.

A school bus. Image via LibreShot. Listed as public domain on LibreShot’s Turkish-language website.

Meyer, meanwhile, emphasized that the teacher—Julious Johnican—was never disciplined by the district.

“This teacher wasn’t even fired,” Meyer said. “The teacher resigned. This teacher hasn’t been charged yet. This teacher can go out there and work with children.”

Indianapolis Public School has since issued a statement, saying that it “does not tolerate [this] type of behavior” but cannot comment on pending litigation.

“IPS does not tolerate the type of behavior alleged in the complaint and takes reports of potential abuse and neglect seriously,” the district told FOX59 in a statement. “When IPS learned of the teacher’s conduct, the Department of Child Services (DCS) was immediately notified, and the teacher was removed from the classroom and suspended. The teacher had no further contact with students and is no longer employed by IPS.”

The district further noted that it “was not aware of any fights sanctioned by this or any other teacher,” and that the school’s principal “immediately contacted DCS and IPS Human Resources” upon receiving footage of the alleged incident.

“Because this matter is the subject of pending litigation,” the district added, “it is inappropriate to comment further on our investigation at this time.”


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