Teacher Allegedly Encouraged Kids To Beat Up 7-Year-Old With Disabilities

By Bill Galluccio

April 19, 2024

Shadow fight
Photo: Hélène Desplechin / Moment / Getty Images

A former Indiana elementary school teacher is accused of running a "fight club" in his classroom and encouraging young children to beat up a seven-year-old classmate with disabilities. The shocking accusations were made in a lawsuit filed by the parents of the seven-year-old against the teacher, Julious Johnican, Indiana Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson, and George Washington Carver Montessori IPS School 87 Principal Mary Kapcoe.

The lawsuit claims that Johnican used the in-class fighting as "a disciplinary technique."

"In this horrifying setup, Johnican not only permitted but incited and facilitated other students to engage in acts of violence against seven-year-old O.D., which included at least three beatings and various forms of physical harm and bullying both for his own amusement or as a deeply disturbed disciplinary measure," the lawsuit states.

In one instance, Johnican filmed one of the fights on his cell phone.

"Instead of beating a child senselessly himself, at least according to what we have, he was allowing another child to do it," Catherine Michael, an attorney representing the student's family, told WTHR.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said that it has opened up an investigation into the allegations in the lawsuit.

After officials with Indiana Public Schools learned of the allegations, they suspended Johnican. However, he resigned from his position before termination proceedings could begin.

"IPS does not tolerate the type of behavior alleged in the complaint and takes reports of potential abuse and neglect seriously," the district said in a statement. "When IPS learned of the teacher's conduct, the Department of Child Services (DCS) was immediately notified, and the teacher was removed from the classroom and suspended. The teacher had no further contact with students and is no longer employed by IPS."

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