A student at Villa Park High School in Orange County filed a lawsuit against his history teacher on Monday, accusing the teacher of challenging him to an arm wrestling match during class and subsequently breaking his arm, according to the Orange County Register.
The student, 18-year old Austin Lazarus, told the Register that he has also been suffering emotional distress as a result of the broken arm: “Students would come up to me and say, ‘Hey Austin, you want to arm wrestle? Hopefully I won’t break your arm.'”
The student’s attorney, Doug Vanderpool, told the Register that the teacher was too aggressive in the match, eventually using both hands and his full body weight to try and beat the student. “If he hadn’t escalated it and the student’s arm had just broken in a normal arm wrestling competition, there’d be no lawsuit.”
Kim Zippwald, Lazarus’s mother, said her son’s classmates prodded and encouraged him to accept the arm wrestling match, but still, the teacher, Zachary Larkin, should never have taken it so far.
“I think it was poor judgement on his part. You’re a mentor, but you don’t do stuff like that,” she said in the report. She added that her son’s arm is still crooked: “It’s still not perfect yet.”
Both Larkin and Villa High School Principal Ed Howard have yet to issue comments. According to the Register, this is the second incident at the school in the past year involving excessive use of force by teachers against students: a wrestling coach was charged last year for putting a student in a chokehold and causing him to lose consciousness.