Parents: We Don't Want RSM Teacher who Pushed Child Back on Duty

The incident, caught on video, happened last year off campus. Cielo Vista teacher Thomas Hammer has been on administrative leave. Until Monday.

Cielo Vista Elementary School in Rancho Santa Margarita. Patch file photos.
Cielo Vista Elementary School in Rancho Santa Margarita. Patch file photos.
Originally posted at 11:32 a.m. May 20, 2014. 

Parents of students at Cielo Vista Elementary School are outraged at the return of a teacher caught on tape snatching a skateboard from a child, threatening to hit another boy with it and trying to hurl it onto a balcony while off duty.

According to a parent, the incident happened last June. But Monday, Thomas Hammer, a second-grade teacher, returned to duty.

"Parents are outraged that he was allowed in the classroom," the mom told Patch. 

Tammy Blakely, spokeswoman for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, told KTLA the teacher has not returned to a classroom teaching assignment but is supporting other students until the end of the school year.

"We are committed to working toward a resolution in this matter," she said.

KTLA said Hammer was originally charged with allegedly committing a felony crime, but the offense was dropped to a misdemeanor.

Some parents vow to keep their children out of school in protest, several media outlets report. 

MFriedrich May 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Well I get all the outrage here. But on the other hand, who out there hasn't wanted to take away a skateboarder's board and whip it over a 3 meter fence? Mr. Hammer obviously lacks the quickness, agility and strength to do it right. Maybe Hammer deserves to be fired. But the kids deserve to have their skateboards incinerated. That's only fair.
Paul May 21, 2014 at 01:09 PM
If you can't appreciate skateboarding that is fine. If kids having fun on a curb angers you to the point of feeling the need to assault, steal, or react with anything other than indifference, you should be looking within, not at children having fun outside a skate shop.
Penny Arévalo May 21, 2014 at 01:12 PM
According to a spokeswoman at the District Attorney's office, it was the judge who dropped the assault charge from a felony to a misdemeanor over the objections of the prosecution. The case is ongoing.
MFriedrich May 21, 2014 at 01:17 PM
Skate park? Southern California has lots of them. Also, most cities have ordinances against skateboarding and bicycling on sidewalks without a helmet (under 18) because of the danger to pedestrians and to boarders themselves. Hammer was wrong to steal and assault. He should have just called the cops and had them issue citations. http://www.learntorideaskateboard.com/sk8law.php Either way, yes Mr. Hammer's a complete jerk. But let's stop pretending like nobody understands the frustration and danger of skateboarding on pedestrian sidewalks. Don't bother to warn skateboarders. When I see it, I just call the cops on non-emergency number with descriptions of the boarders. I then stick around to watch the cops arrive and have them get fined. It's very entertaining. Probably, but not quite, as much fun as launching one of their skateboards over a 9 foot wall.


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