16-year-old high school student left with severed nerves and tendons after teacher encouraged a sword duel against classmate

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By James Kay

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A 16-year-old high school student has been left with severed nerves and tendons following a swordfight in a classroom, which the teacher encouraged, per a lawsuit.

Identified only as N.S. in legal documents, the student suffered severed nerves and tendons during the face-off that occurred in May 2022 at Volcano Vista High School, New Mexico.

The lawsuit, as reported by NBC News, claims that a teacher, Loviata Mitchell, provided both teenagers with katana and rapier-style swords for what was described as a "bizarre duel."

Reports indicate that Mitchell, a former chemistry teacher, arranged desks to create an improvised arena and selected pairs of students to engage in two-minute fights.

Katana
A katana-style sword was allegedly used in the duel (stock image). Credit: Yuji Ozeki/Getty

According to the lawsuit - "D.M. struck N.S. across her right forearm, wrist, and hand with the katana-style sword," resulting in a significant and deep laceration inconsistent with a prop sword.

Upon realizing the severity of the situation, the teacher allegedly panicked, shouting: "I'm in trouble," and instructed students to delete any footage of the duels. However, footage retained by the injured student revealed the chaotic scene in the classroom.

Despite the seriousness of the injury, it took 20 minutes for the student's grandfather to be notified and an additional 30 minutes before 911 was called, as detailed in the lawsuit filed last week in the 2nd Judicial District Court.

As a result of the incident, the student underwent surgeries, physical therapy, and sought mental health assistance, with basic daily tasks now posing challenges.

Her attorney stated: "Her wrist and hand are permanently injured. Those injuries cause her ongoing daily pain, as well as cause her to be unable to perform many basic daily tasks."

The lawsuit also implicates Manuel Alzaga, an assistant principal, who allegedly misrepresented the incident in a school report, claiming it was part of a "lesson on metal and melding". The legal action further alleges that Alzaga indicated the injury did not violate school rules.

Jessica Hernandez, the plaintiff's lawyer, described the impact on the student's life, emphasizing the profound physical and psychological toll.

"It’s been devastating. I mean as you can imagine, this is a high school girl that this happens to. Not only is her life completely different, not only does she have the pain of a very serious injury that had a surgery with a very long recovery, but she also now has a very dramatic scar right on her wrist," she told KRQE.

Hernandez continued: "Job prospects are now off the table for her. She’ll never be able to use her dominant hand the way she used to."

Mitchell was terminated from her position in July 2022, though the reason for her dismissal remains unclear.

Featured image credit: Yuji Ozeki/Getty

16-year-old high school student left with severed nerves and tendons after teacher encouraged a sword duel against classmate

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A 16-year-old high school student has been left with severed nerves and tendons following a swordfight in a classroom, which the teacher encouraged, per a lawsuit.

Identified only as N.S. in legal documents, the student suffered severed nerves and tendons during the face-off that occurred in May 2022 at Volcano Vista High School, New Mexico.

The lawsuit, as reported by NBC News, claims that a teacher, Loviata Mitchell, provided both teenagers with katana and rapier-style swords for what was described as a "bizarre duel."

Reports indicate that Mitchell, a former chemistry teacher, arranged desks to create an improvised arena and selected pairs of students to engage in two-minute fights.

Katana
A katana-style sword was allegedly used in the duel (stock image). Credit: Yuji Ozeki/Getty

According to the lawsuit - "D.M. struck N.S. across her right forearm, wrist, and hand with the katana-style sword," resulting in a significant and deep laceration inconsistent with a prop sword.

Upon realizing the severity of the situation, the teacher allegedly panicked, shouting: "I'm in trouble," and instructed students to delete any footage of the duels. However, footage retained by the injured student revealed the chaotic scene in the classroom.

Despite the seriousness of the injury, it took 20 minutes for the student's grandfather to be notified and an additional 30 minutes before 911 was called, as detailed in the lawsuit filed last week in the 2nd Judicial District Court.

As a result of the incident, the student underwent surgeries, physical therapy, and sought mental health assistance, with basic daily tasks now posing challenges.

Her attorney stated: "Her wrist and hand are permanently injured. Those injuries cause her ongoing daily pain, as well as cause her to be unable to perform many basic daily tasks."

The lawsuit also implicates Manuel Alzaga, an assistant principal, who allegedly misrepresented the incident in a school report, claiming it was part of a "lesson on metal and melding". The legal action further alleges that Alzaga indicated the injury did not violate school rules.

Jessica Hernandez, the plaintiff's lawyer, described the impact on the student's life, emphasizing the profound physical and psychological toll.

"It’s been devastating. I mean as you can imagine, this is a high school girl that this happens to. Not only is her life completely different, not only does she have the pain of a very serious injury that had a surgery with a very long recovery, but she also now has a very dramatic scar right on her wrist," she told KRQE.

Hernandez continued: "Job prospects are now off the table for her. She’ll never be able to use her dominant hand the way she used to."

Mitchell was terminated from her position in July 2022, though the reason for her dismissal remains unclear.

Featured image credit: Yuji Ozeki/Getty