Saturday, March 5, 2011
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
Police are investigating a fight at a Youngstown school between a teacher and student that sent the 55-year-old teacher to the hospital.
Police were sent to the University Project Learning Center on Ford Avenue at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday for a disturbance. There they found the teacher had been assaulted by a student.
Several special-needs students attend the school.
According to reports, the 14-year-old student came to school that morning and declared that he was not going to do any class work. He then became disruptive in the class by playing loud music and misbehaving.
The altercation started when the teacher pulled the boy’s chair in an attempt to get him out of the classroom.
Reports say the boy fell to the floor then got up and pushed the teacher. The teacher reportedly pushed the boy back.
According to police, the boy punched the teacher in the head with a closed fist, knocking the man to the ground. The teacher told police he struck his head on a pipe when he fell to the ground after the blow from the student.
The teacher got up from the floor, but the student hit him in the face a second time knocking him back to the ground. As the teacher again tried to stand, reports say the student struck the teacher a third time knocking him back to the ground.
The altercation ended when a teaching assistant came to the teacher’s assistance.
Principal Debbie DiFrancesco refused to talk about the incident Friday afternoon. She referred all inquiries to the board of education.
Reports say the teacher was taken to the hospital, but offers nothing about his condition. He was able to give his account of the incident to police, and Karen Ingram, school-district communications director, said the teacher is no longer hospitalized and appears to be doing well.
Reports say the student was placed in “time out,” however, Bill Morvey, the district’s chief of security, said the student was removed from school.
“The student was removed from school and will go through the due-process hearings,” he said. “This is a more specialized school for students with some issues and concerns so sometimes they get disruptive, but they [school officials] know how to handle the kids. This is one of those unfortunate situations.”