| 6.8°C Dublin

Teacher 'ran class fight club'

The author of Fight Club, the book that was turned into a film starring Brad Pitt, has lent his support to a teacher in Los Angles who is accused of organising and refereeing secret boxing matches between his pupils.

News of the classroom bouts emerged after Stephen Wesley (43), a teacher at the Camp Holton juvenile probation facility in San Fernando, was arrested at his home on Tuesday and charged with six counts of child endangerment.

Investigators claim that when Wesley was unable to stop his 15-year-old students beating up each other, he abandoned the curriculum and set about establishing a real-life fight club, setting the rules and cheering as punches were thrown.

"I'd much rather the students had been reading books, but what the f***, they're kids," said Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club, which was first published in 1996.

"I think the key to it is was it consensual? In general I'm all in favour of fight clubs. People often feel as though they need some experience of dealing with conflict and violence."