The incident happened on January 20 at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson.
The video quickly went viral and has been viewed millions of times.
Authorities say the science teacher, 62-year-old Khamis Aburmeilah, filed a report with the off-duty officer assigned to the school in reference to an assault that occurred as he was lecturing a class.
The teacher reported that at approximately 10:20 a.m., one of his 16-year-old freshman students entered his classroom late and was being disruptive. The teacher proceeded to write up the juvenile due to his continued disruptive behavior.
At this point, the student allegedly sat down at the teacher's seat and refused to go back to his seat when ordered to by the teacher. He then got up, grabbed the teacher from behind and proceeded to slam the teacher onto the ground and punch him on the upper body until another student pulled him off the teacher.
The teacher complained of pain to his upper body area and sought medical treatment.
"He's not doing well," Paterson Education Association president Peter Tirri said. "His back, his shoulder and his head are hurting him very much. He's going to a doctor this afternoon."
After obtaining a written statement by the teacher on Friday, January 23, the student was arrested and charged with third-degree assault.
He was released to the custody of his guardian, and has been suspended from school.
The Paterson School District released the following statement:
"This was a very upsetting incident and certainly one that we took seriously as the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. This student was immediately suspended and placed on home instruction. The student's parents were called, and there is currently a criminal complaint filed against this student. He will receive a disciplinary hearing in the next few days to determine an appropriate educational placement for the remaining school year. Our district has worked extremely hard to provide a safe and caring environment for our students and our staff, and with 54 schools in the district, we have succeeded in this area. The superintendent feels very confident in the leadership of the Principal of Operations, David Cozart, and knows that Mr. Cozart will continue to work aggressively to ensure that the JFK building is a safe place for our teachers to teach and for our students to learn."
The union president might not agree with that assessment.
"There was a kid sitting to the right of what was going on," Tirri said. "He looked like he was laughing. That's bothersome to me."
Fellow students say they cannot understand what prompted the suspect to lash out.
"All I know is he was a really good kid," junior Richard Hobson said. "And he was just worried about his grades and his dancing, and that was it."
"I just think it's sad how somebody could do that to him," sophomore Bryan Tutiven said. "There was no reason for him to do that at all, whatsoever."