Cloverdale High School teacher arrested on suspicion of refereeing classroom ‘fight club’

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A Cloverdale High School teacher is suspected of refereeing a classroom fight club that resulted in multiple student injuries, police said.

Federico Vargas, 41, of Santa Rosa, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of five counts of endangering a child and 13 counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors, according to the Cloverdale Police Department. He was no longer in Sonoma County Jail.

Police launched their investigation Thursday after school officials contacted them. Cloverdale police said Vargas created “a ‘fight club’ style atmosphere” in which “the teacher not only allowed the students to fight each other in the classroom but refereed the fights.”

There were multiple fights, all occurring in Vargas’ classroom and one of which was filmed by a student, police said. It’s unclear whether the fights happened during class time or after school. More than one student was injured, including a teen who required medical treatment, police said. However, they did not specify the severity of the injuries.

Jeremy Decker, superintendent of the Cloverdale Unified School District, confirmed Monday that Vargas was a faculty member and not a substitute teacher, though he was unsure what subject or class Vargas taught. A district website includes a listing for a “Frederico Vargas” as special education faculty.

Noting that the district was continuing to investigate, Decker declined to comment further other than saying school officials immediately contacted police after becoming aware of the alleged fighting “due to the serious nature of these allegations.”

“The safety of our students is of the utmost importance, and we will never ever tolerate violence on campus,” Decker said.

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