RAINIER BEACH – Dozens of Seattle high school students mounted a public protest Friday in support of a teacher accused of choking and slapping a student.
The accused teacher, Andy McCool, is on paid administrative leave and isn’t allowed on the South Lake High School campus, but that didn’t stop students from taking to the sidewalks to say they believe the popular teacher is being framed.
“We really love our teacher and this is really unfair to him,” said student Jennifer Romero-Diaz.
Seventeen-year-old Abisai Guerrero claims McCool choked and slapped him during class on Wednesday, but the protestors say the charges are overblown.
“He just grabbed him by the hoodie,” said Mixy Reyes. “Choking is when that person can’t breath. He wasn’t actually chocking him.”
Guerrero hasn’t been back to school since Wednesday’s incident, and he said he’s afraid he’ll get into fights if he does return. He also admits the protest hurts.
“It makes me feel (like) they’re supporting him more than what he did to me,” he said.
Students at the protest said Guerrero has nothing to fear, except public shame for what some are calling a gross exaggeration if not an outright lie.
“That’s why he’s scared to come to school, because he knows what he did is wrong,” said one student. “But he can still fix it. He could still say the truth.”
McCool has so far refused to comment on the incident.