Students at Sebastian River high throw support behind 'Coach Joe - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Students at Sebastian River high throw support behind 'Coach Joe' after school fight

SEBASTIAN, Fla. - It's the footage that has stirred up controversy and conversation along the Treasure Coast.

Now, students and even some parents, are rushing to the defense of a Sebastian teacher, after a video surfaces of a classroom fight with a student.

"It makes me wanna cry because he's been a part of our lives for the past three years," student Sierra Barnes says.

The teacher, affectionately called Coach Joe by students, was reassigned to non school duty after the video surfaced

We don't know what leads up to the fight.

The student, Isaiah Speights, says coach Joe made the first move.

We spoke to Isaiah and his mother Orlaundra Pryor Wednesday about the fight.

"He's the aggressor, he's provoking my son, and my son is backing up," Pryor says.

Meanwhile, Coach Joe tells NewsChannel 5 Isaiah struck first.

His supporters - which include parents and students alike - are throwing their support behind him.

"The poor man," one parent told us after school on Thursday. "He comes here everyday, he tries to help everybody, and that kid attacked him. If you look at the video - he was defending himself."

Students are now making that support known - designing shirts, bringing signs to school and even to Coach Joe's home.

"I go back with him, with my family, he's taught my brother," student Loren Brunicardi says. "I don't see him ever purposefully hurting somebody."

Barnes says if the coach pays the price with his job, things could get ugly at the school.

"I hope that they don't let him go because if they do they're going to have a lot of angry students, and that is the truth."

NewsChannel 5 reached out to Isaiah's family Thursday to see if they have heard anything from the family or the district.

So far we haven't heard back from them.

The district says it is still investigating this case.

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