Thomas Hammer, Teacher in Bizarre Skateboard Attack Video, Again Placed on Leave

thomas-hammer-skateboard_ktla.jpg
KTLA/Channel 5
Video obtained by KTLA seems to show Thomas Hammer threatening a kid with a skateboard.

Thomas Hammer was suspended as a teacher at Cielo Vista Elementary School in Rancho Santa Margarita after school officials learned he was looking at a felony last June for apparently losing his temper, taking a kid's skateboard and raising the slat as if to hit another kid. Hammer returned to a second-grade classroom Monday, which is also when video of the bizarre incident was publicized, prompting a parental protest and--this morning--the teacher being placed on administrative leave a second time.

Just to be clear, the incident did not happen on campus but outside a San Clemente skateboard shop. Hammer appears to be just walking up when he suddenly takes one kid's skateboard, runs with it to a second young skateboarder, raises the board as if to strike the second kid with it and then tries unsuccessfully to throw the board onto a balcony. The videographer says Hammer was a stranger to the group--and strange:

It was Cielo Vista Elementary parents who identified Hammer as the man in the video, and the Saddleback Valley Unified School District confirmed that he had been placed on leave once officials were informed of the incident.

When felony charges against Hammer were knocked down to misdemeanors, he was reinstated Monday in a role that has him working in a "support role" with other teachers--but not in the classroom--for the remainder of the school year, according to district spokeswoman Tammy Blakely.

Because of Hammer's return, 20-25 students did not come to school this morning as a protest. Parents explained they fear the teacher has anger management issues that have not been addressed and they fear their children finding themselves alone with him. To be fair, at least one parent also indicated Hammer deserves a second chance. Records indicate Hammer has been with the district since 1998.

An email to parents from the school principal this morning states Hammer has again been placed on administrative leave. Because the message does not indicate the length of the leave or whether Hammer will be paid, one parent told KTLA today that she will continue to keep her boys out of school.

"Until the district can guarantee Mr. Hammer won't be back, neither will my children," she said.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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21 comments
sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776

SCHOOLS /DEMS continue to support their own 


they hate children they hate women they hate men



they are self hating 

lydiaprounlimited
lydiaprounlimited

Wow shocking!!! I knew it! This man picked on my son. He was in fifth grade and had such a hard time with Mr Hammer. He experience name calling and most of the time put him down. I confronted Mr Hammer many times and until I finally left messages to the principal and nothing was done. Shame on the principals. I am so glad that parents are finally protesting against this man. I can't wait to see my son's face when he hears about this. Finally my son will get justice for all the bulling he experience from this man. As for me, I am so glad that Mr Hammer's time is up and he is fired. Finally!!!! Mr. Hammer needs help....

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 "HammerTime"

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jhartb00
jhartb00

My son was bullied for a year by this man. 2 years ago, Mr. Hammer was his 2nd grade teacher. We complained endlessly to the Principal at Cielo Vista, but were repeatedly told that Mr. Hammer was "tough", but not abusive. They basically ignored our claims of bullying and name calling, by Thomas Hammer to our Son. The school did nothing to address our concerns, not even when Mr Hammer pushed our son. My husband and I could clearly see that this teacher had a terribly short fuse to say the least, and did not have any business with children. We complained so much about this teacher, when we moved 1 block out of the school zone the next year, Cielo Vista Principal, DENIED our request to continue there. SHAME ON YOU CIELO VISTA PRINCIPAL!!!!!!!! You KNEW he was a ticking TIME BOMB.......AND YOU LOOKED THE OTHER WAY!!!! What other horrible examples are you setting for the children of Rancho Santa Margarita???

BuzzardofGreenHill
BuzzardofGreenHill

@jhartb00  I was his student teacher at that time (2012). I can personally vouch for his particularly poor performance as a teacher in relation to how he treated his students.

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