PORT ORANGE, Fla. — A Florida middle school teacher was arrested and accused of playing loud music with intent to disrupt students who were taking the Florida Statewide Assessments (FSA) test.
Martin Reese, an art teacher at Creekside Middle School in Port Orange, was arrested on Tuesday for disrupting school activities and disorderly conduct, police said.
According to police, they responded to a call of a disturbance from the school around 12:10. When they encountered Reese, he refused to turn off the music he was playing at a loud volume inside the school and he caused a disturbance while being escorted to the principal’s office.
“This caused the school to go into lockdown until the situation was resolved,” police wrote in a statement. “At no time were any students endangered and no weapons were involved in the incident.”
Reese said he intentionally disrupted the testing because he felt disgusted that stressed students from tough home situations were being forced to sit down after two years of chaos and upheaval for a test that was being retired this spring.
Last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that abolishes the FSA exams, which has been one of his priorities this legislative session. The legislation paves the way to replace the standardized exams with a “progress monitoring system” that would test students three times a year.
While streaming on Instagram, Reese detailed his plan. His intent was to play music so loudly that students in nearby classrooms would have trouble concentrating. If they complained, they would have to reschedule the test for a later date.
“That means that all of these tests have to be thrown out, because you can’t possibly put that type of pressure and weight upon a student because of what a teacher did,” he said.
“I think that’s unfair,” he says in the video. “I f***ed up the way that they were testing today.”
During the 50 minute video, Reese can be seen he interacting with students, discussing their home lives, equating the pressure put on them to a type of slavery and even discussing his marijuana use. He advised them not to partake in the drug until they were adults.
The teacher is facing charges for causing a disturbance and disorderly conduct. A judge set his bond at $1,000 Tuesday night.
Reese has since bonded out of jail.