Caldwell police arrest substitute teacher after students fight

Caldwell School District

Syringa High School substitute teacher Etson Arreola was arrested Friday after he allegedly incited multiple students to fight during class, police said.

In a news release, the Caldwell Police Department said a fight broke out between two male students in Arreola’s classroom on Thursday. A short time later, police said, two girls fought in the same classroom in Arreola’s presence.

Arreola incited the students to fight, police said, and the fight was caught on video. Caldwell Police officers discovered the video on social media and began an investigation, interviewing school officials, parents, witnesses and people involved in the incident.

Caldwell detectives said Arreola set a timer and encouraged the students to fight for 10 seconds while recording it. Police said the students were not injured in the incident.

“Mr. Arreola’s actions tear at the fabric of our community and are reprehensible,” Caldwell Police Chief Rex Ingram said in the release. “The video is horrifying, disturbing and unimaginable. This man was trusted by his community to keep our children safe and provide an academic education, but he chose to run a fight club in his classroom. “

On Friday, Caldwell police issued an arrest warrant for Arreola and later took him into custody without incident. He is being held in the Canyon County Jail, charged with four counts of injury to a child, one count of inciting a riot and four counts of violating the juvenile corrections act, inciting a minor to fight.

“The Caldwell School District has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” Superintendent Shalene French said in the release. “The safety and well-being of every child is of primary importance for the district. The district has taken immediate measures to ensure the safety of all students. We support the involved students and actively cooperate with law enforcement agencies.”

According to Caldwell police, the restrictions are in place to keep Arreola from contacting the students involved and any student in the Caldwell district.

It’s the third time this month the school district has held a “Brown Pride” walkout at Caldwell after students linked the uniform to gangs. Earlier this month, audience members at a Caldwell School Board meeting angrily spoke out against a proposed policy on gender identity and sexual orientation, forcing delegates to end the meeting quickly.

This story was originally published January 28, 2023 11:49 am.

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