SALEM Teacher faces charges of assaulting student

Authorities say the teacher hit a ninth-grader with a piece of chalk.
SALEM -- A city high school teacher who was disciplined last year by the school district now faces a criminal charge resulting from a recent classroom confrontation with a student.
John McKee, 49, of East Ninth Street, was to appear in Northwest Area Columbiana County Court later today on a first-degree misdemeanor charge of assaulting a ninth-grade boy.
City police arrested McKee after investigating a classroom episode that occurred Friday afternoon.
Police said McKee became angry at a boy in his class when he feared the youngster was damaging a book cover.
McKee threw the book into the hallway and pitched a piece of chalk at the boy, hitting him in the head, a police report states.
The police officer investigating the matter noticed an abrasion and some swelling on the boy's head where he was hit with the chalk.
Teacher's status: Schools Superintendent Dr. David Brobeck said today that McKee is on "home assignment," meaning he does not have to report to work but will continue to be paid.
School officials will review the matter and could impose discipline or fire McKee, Brobeck said.
The school board ordered McKee to be suspended for 49 days last August after he was accused of improper behavior toward pupils.
School authorities maintained that McKee slapped a junior high school pupil, kicked a male pupil and addressed female pupils in a suggestive manner.
As part of his punishment, McKee also agreed to retire from the district the first year he is eligible to receive retirement benefits, which is calculated as the 2003-2004 school year.
McKee has been a teacher for nearly 25 years and has served as teachers union president.

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