Maple Heights middle school coach placed on leave after brawl in East Cleveland

Maple Heights coach under investigation for possible assault in East Cleveland

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Maple Heights middle school basketball coach was arrested after he allegedly started a massive brawl and assaulted a 14-year-old boy Thursday night.

According to an East Cleveland police report, witnesses say he punched the teen following a basketball game at Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland.

The teen’s mother, Tabitha Gilbert, told 19 News once the game ended, the teams from Maple Heights and East Cleveland made their way to the locker room.

That’s when a fight broke out between students. “I was on the ground getting stomped and stuff,” Gilbert’s son said.

Suddenly, he said, “the coach hit me in my eye.” He said his hand "was on the ground and got stepped on.” He’s now in a cast from two broken fingers.

Gilbert and other parents tried to break the fight up after she and others witnessed the coach punch her son in the eye.

She said “the coach just came full force walking up and just punched my child in his face.”

Police arrived minutes later and arrested Clark.

Charges on the coach are still pending.

Gilbert said she “wouldn’t expect a coach would literally put his hands on a 14-year-old child. He shouldn’t work with kids a day in his life."

In a statement from the Maple Heights school district, the coach has been put on paid leave while they investigate the incident.

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