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Monday April 15, 2024

Shocking classroom sword duel leaves teen girl permanently injured

Teacher brought katana- and rapier-style swords to school on May 2, 2022 and organised duel among students

By Web Desk
February 29, 2024
Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, N.M..— Albuquerque Public Schools
Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, N.M..— Albuquerque Public Schools

A teenage girl suffered a terrible and irreversible injury when a teacher allegedly organised a sword combat among her classmates at Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

The family of the injured student, identified only as N.S., has filed a lawsuit against Albuquerque Public Schools, Assistant Principal Manuel Alzaga, and former chemistry teacher Loviata Mitchell.

The lawsuit claims that Mitchell brought katana- and rapier-style swords to school on May 2, 2022, instructing students to rearrange desks and form a ring in the middle of class. Pairs of pupils were allegedly then called to square off in duels. During one such bout, N.S. and a classmate, D.M., were called to fight.

According to the plaintiff's attorney, Jessica Hernandez, D.M. struck N.S. across her right forearm, wrist, and hand with the katana-style sword, causing a large and deep laceration inconsistent with a prop sword.

The shocking part of the incident occurred when, realising the severity of N.S.'s injuries, Mitchell allegedly screamed, "I'm in trouble!" and ordered students to delete any videos they had recorded of the fights. Instead of promptly calling 911, the teacher's actions reportedly caused a delay of 20 minutes before the injured girl's grandfather, who is her guardian, was notified.

A school report, allegedly authored by Assistant Principal Alzaga, described the incident as a "lesson on metal and melding," minimising the severity of the situation. The report indicated that the injury did not violate school rules, a claim disputed by the lawsuit.

Mitchell was fired in July 2022, according to the school representative, who declined to disclose the specific reason for her termination. Contact attempts with Mitchell have been unsuccessful, as her listed phone numbers were disconnected, and she has not responded to emails seeking comment.

The lawsuit includes graphic photographs of N.S.'s injuries, revealing the extent of the damage caused during the classroom sword fight. The girl has undergone surgeries, physical therapy, and mental health counseling, facing ongoing challenges in performing basic daily tasks due to the permanent damage to her wrist and hand.

Albuquerque Public Schools declined to comment on the pending litigation.