Lawrence Sangi, a history teacher at Bayonne High School in New Jersey, is being investigated for inappropriate behavior including smacking a 14-year-old female student on the butt, The Jersey Journal reports.
Sangi, who has been put on administrative leave, allegedly ordered the girl to the front of the classroom, told her to bend down and pick up a pencil, and smacked her on the butt, telling her, "That's what your father should have done."
Students at the school, however, are standing by their teacher, according to a separate report by The Jersey Journal.
"He plays around and everything like that, but I don't think he would ever touch anybody," 18-year-old senior Samantha Rasmussen told the Journal.
"There's so many stories going around," Rasmussen continued, according to the report. "He plays around like every other teacher, he's like a fun teacher, he does things to have fun ... but I don't think he did that."
Assistant Superintendent Robert Craig said authorities could take up to 30 days to investigate the accusations, the teacher doesn't yet face charges.
Sangi, whose curriculum outline on the school's website uses humor to make history more relatable for the students, refrained from commenting on the investigation when a reporter from the Journal approached him.
In a similar fashion, students at Rio Rancho High School in New Mexico have rallied to support their teacher, who was put on administrative leave for administering a controversial "sex survey" which parents and school officials say wasn't sent through the proper channels for approval.
Kailie Peters, a former student, told KOAT the opposite is true.
"The school knows about it," she told the station. "... It's just trying to teach that diseases can spread. We printed it, we typed it up, we went and talked to our other teachers to see if we could go in other classrooms to get students to take it."