Gilbert students hold solidarity sit-in for teacher on leave - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Gilbert students hold solidarity sit-in for teacher on leave

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GILBERT, Ariz. -

A day after a valley high school teacher and coach is accused of assaulting one of his students, hundreds of his other students are coming to his defense.

Dozens of Gilbert High School students skipped class Friday, but not for their own enjoyment. They said they wanted to send a message to administrators.

In this cell phone video, you see 150 students staging a protest at Gilbert High School.

"It just started all on twitter, there was a bunch of hashtags saying Free Dan Dunn and Ditch for Dunn," said student Kayla Nelson.

They're holding a sit-in to get their teacher Daniel Dunn back in the classroom. Dunn is on administrative leave after a student accused Dunn of slapping him across the face.

"We think Mr. Dunn didn't do anything wrong and we think Mr. Dunn deserves the respect that we gave him and he's just a really kindhearted man," said student Hannah Gerle.

According to the police report there are varying accounts of what happened. Some students in class report seeing Dunn slap the student. Dunn says it was unintentional -- that he was motioning for the student to sit down when he hit him.

"Mr. Dunn is my teacher I just think he is innocent I honestly do," said Nelson.

"A lot of the administrators didn't really stop us," said Gerle.

In the video, you see the principal assuring students he wants to see Dunn back too.

"He is not teaching on this campus and I hate that, I wish he was here and I'm the first to say that," said the principal.

The principal told students there's a process in any teacher-student assault accusation. In this case, police are still investigating.

"Sometimes doing this job is the worst job in the world and this is one of those times. There is a process."

Police officials say they'll be interviewing more students that witnessed the slap to find out what exactly happened -- from there it's up to the town prosecutor to decide if they will file charges against Dunn.

Related story: Gilbert High teacher arrested on assault charge

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