Teacher caught on controversial cell phone video won't face charges

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 7 at 6:40 PM

TACOMA, Wash. - The middle school teacher seen on cell phone video clips wrestling with and harrassing a student in class won't face criminal charges.

In February, John Rosi's students took video of him while a 12-year-old student of his was being dragged around a classroom.

Rosi can be seen wrestling with the boy and pretending to pass gas on him as classmates suspended the student by his arms and legs.

"The conduct that appears on the video is inappropriate for that setting, but it's not criminal in nature," said Deputy Prosecutor Jared Ausser.

Ausser said to charge Rosi with assault, Ausser would have to prove the teacher was guilty of "harmful or offensive contact."

After reviewing interviews with the teacher, students and the boy, Ausser said they determined the incident was "all in fun."

"He [the boy] described it as joking around, playing around," said Ausser.

The attorney for the boy and his family said that is not how her clients describe the incident.

"Their son has never said it was all in fun and games," said attorney Joan Mell.

Mell said the boy was in tears when he was interviewed by investigators.

She said he is still in counseling from the trauma he suffered in the February incident.

Mell said the boy's parents are considering suing the school district and they want to have Rosi's teaching credential revoked.

Rosi was put on unpaid leave for two weeks following an investigation into the incident.

He's been on paid administrative leave since the family released the videos of the incident in August.

The acting-superintendent for the Peninsula School District said Rosi's presence on campus became a distraction.

The district has not decided if Rosi will return to the classroom.

Rosi's attorney said the teacher is "greatly relieved" he will not face criminal charges and Rosi is eager to return to the classroom.

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