On April 12 of this year, Victor Malone, a teacher's assistant at Fort Bend's Hightower High School, was working in an "alternative education" class when a fight between two boys broke out.
"I think it was gang related," Malone tells Hair Balls. "Something that started outside the classroom."
The teacher wasn't present at the time of the fight, and as an assistant, Malone says he wasn't supposed to be left alone.
"I was put in a situation where I had to intervene," he says. "If one of those kids got hurt, they'd blame me."
Malone moved in to break up the fight, and he was punched in the face. His lip split open, and a couple of his teeth got knocked loose. When he stumbled backwards and fell down, he says he badly hurt his ankle.
The injuries were severe enough for Malone, who worked at Hightower for six years, to be placed on "assault leave," which, according to Fort Bend policy, gives an employee up to two years to recover "from the physical injuries he or she sustained."
But after two months, Malone says the district wanted him change his status from assault leave to "medical leave," which, because of his assistant position, would've allowed Fort Bend to stop paying Malone until he officially returned to work.
A representative from the school district hasn't returned our calls for comment or to confirm the details of Malone's case.
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When he wouldn't change his status, the district terminated his position, saying that Malone quit the job. He hasn't received a paycheck since June, and because of the way he left the job, he can't draw unemployment.
Malone had also renewed his contract with the district while he was on assault leave, but he hasn't been able to return to work.
"I'm dead broke right now," Malone says. "I prefer [the district] to pay me my salary, because I think they did me wrong.
It's certainly a bad ending for a teacher who was punched in the face and injured by a student, and if the district gets back to us with any additional details, we'll be sure to update.