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SALEM Teacher makes a deal in assault



Published: Thu, February 28, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The agreement calls for community service and counseling.

SALEM -- A former Salem schoolteacher accused of assaulting a student by throwing chalk at him will be allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge, providing he meets certain conditions.

John McKee, 49, of Salem, entered into a plea deal earlier this week in Columbiana County Municipal Court in East Palestine.

McKee is charged with assault, a first-degree misdemeanor. Authorities say he threw a piece of chalk at a ninth-grade student in his class Nov. 2, hitting him in the head.

McKee became angry when he thought the boy was damaging a book cover, police said.

His obligations: As part of a plea deal, McKee agreed to perform 15 hours of community service and to undergo anger management counseling.

Judge Mark Frost, who heard the case, set a May 7 court hearing.

If McKee has fulfilled the obligations by that time, the charge will be amended to disorderly conduct, a minor misdemeanor, and McKee could be fined $100 plus ordered to pay court costs.

The maximum sentence for assault is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Assistant county Prosecutor Virginia Barborak said Wednesday that the boy's family agreed with the plea deal.

Lost his job: Barborak noted that McKee lost his job with Salem schools after being charged with the assault.

The assault charge wasn't the first time McKee got into trouble over behavior toward students.

He was suspended for 49 days by the school board in August 2000 after he was accused of improper behavior.

School authorities said McKee slapped a junior high school pupil, kicked a male pupil and addressed female pupils in a suggestive matter.




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