A teacher has been arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after it was alleged that she had organized fights that took place in her classroom.
According to a press release from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, 23-year-old Angel Drew Footman allegedly allowed students to fight each other in her classroom during school hours.
MIDDLE SCHOOL FIGHT CLUB?
Deputies say a 6th-grade teacher allowed students to fight in her classroom and she reportedly announced rules and would get girls out of classes to participate: https://t.co/QxMXMnti5L pic.twitter.com/Of7I0NRVxV
— Local 12/WKRC-TV (@Local12) April 11, 2023
Footman, who was a sixth-grade teacher at Griffin Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida, was caught on multiple videos watching the fights while taking no action to stop them. Students have since told authorities that the teacher had actually been the one organizing them.
“She made statements such as ’30 seconds, no screaming, no yelling, no phones,’ and she even asked two of the girls whether they wanted to come back during her 6th period planning period to ‘run it back’ (fight again),” Leon County Sheriff’s Office detective Hanna Perry reportedly wrote in an affidavit obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat.
“The fighters informed me that Footman asked them whether they wanted to have a ‘friendly fade’ before the fights began,” an affidavit reviewed by local news outlet WCTV reportedly said.
The teacher’s actions came to light after multiple parents discovered videos recorded by students in the classroom during the fights.
According to authorities, several fights took place on March 22. In the videos of the incidents, Footman can be seen sitting at her desk and failing to intervene as students fought. She does not call for help to stop the fights, nor does she leave the classroom to find the school resource deputy to help with the situation.
Court documents obtained by the Miami Herald reveal that four of the girls seen fighting the videos have told police that the fights were preplanned and endorsed by their teacher.
Footman’s voice has been identified in the videos by several different school administrators, where she can be heard telling the fighters to “stop pulling hair” and “break it up.”
The teacher has since claimed that she “did not organize fights in any way, but failed to take quick action to stop the altercations or report them to administrators.” She also admitted that she had poor classroom management skills, according to court documents.
A Leon County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Deputy received the report about Footman’s alleged crimes on March 23. Following a preliminary investigation, a warrant was issued for Footman’s arrest on April 5.
The teacher turned herself in to law enforcement at the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office on April 7, and was arrested, booked, and released the same day. Footman has been charged with four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, each of which has a maximum sentence of one year.
Footman has since been removed from the Griffin Middle School’s website listing of faculty and staff.