A former substitute teacher in a US high school has been charged after allegedly encouraging students to fight each other in class.
Ryan Fish, 23, taught maths at Montville High School in Connecticut. On Thursday (local time) he was arrested after cellphone footage emerged showing Fish's students slapping each other in the face and head.
In the videos, Fish can be heard encouraging boys aged between 14 and 16 to fight in his classroom, calling out directions for which way to move.
Police say the boys hit each other with "full force strikes with open hands".
In October 2017, security escorted Fish to the principal's office where he was questioned over the footage. He denied that he started the fights, claiming that two students began hitting each other while he was briefly away from the classroom.
"Boys will be boys," he reportedly told the principal.
However when speaking to police, Fish admitted to "egging on" the students when they fought in order to "let them get their energy out".
"The truth is I'm an idiot and wanted to befriend them," he said, according to a police report. "I'm immature."
Fish was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor, four counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree, and a breach of peace in the second degree.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his next court hearing is scheduled for May 8.