The civil case involving a St. Paul teacher assaulted by a Central High student in December has surfaced in a new venue and with a new claim by the district: that his injuries were due in part to his own negligence — and not the School District's.

In another case, a substitute teacher said she is no longer allowed to work in St. Paul after reporting an assault.

The district Thursday filed its response to a complaint by teacher John Ekblad, contending that he was negligent and knowingly took on the risk of injury when he intervened in a fight in the cafeteria on Dec. 4.

Ekblad's attorney, Philip Villaume, said Thursday that "we vehemently deny" the district's claims. "He is the victim here," Villaume added.

Ekblad's lawsuit accuses the district of failing to protect him from violence. His complaint was headed to Ramsey County District Court but has been moved to federal court at the district's request.

The complaint alleges the district knew that conditions at Central were dangerous and that a 16-year-old student was a danger to others before the incident during which he reportedly choked Ekblad into unconsciousness.

The district responds that not only was Ekblad careless and negligent, but that his injuries were caused by "third persons over whom the defendants had no control."

No court dates have been set.

Sub says she's out

A substitute teacher who reported an assault last week said she is no longer allowed to work in the district.

Candice Egan filed a police report after she was pushed several times by a seventh-grader at Creative Arts secondary school when she tried taking the student's cellphone.

Egan said she was told by her manager at Teachers on Call this week that she could no longer sub for the district. "She told me, 'You cannot sub in St. Paul schools. They have asked that we take you off the sub list.' She said, 'Due to the way the situation was handled, they want some distance from you, and you're inactive until we investigate,' " Egan said.

Egan sees it as retaliation for filing a police report and speaking with the media after being assaulted.

The district is reviewing the incident and has a practice of not asking substitutes back during an investigation, said Ryan Vernosh, a spokesman for the district.

"There are various reasons why substitutes may not be asked to work for the district," he said. "Talking to the media is not one of them."

Egan has been subbing in St. Paul for three years, mostly at Harding and Johnson High, Adams Spanish Immersion and Farnsworth Aerospace.

"I subbed pretty much full time, and it was fabulous. I love those schools, I love those kids," she said.

A representative for Teachers On Call said Friday Egan can still work. "Candice has not been fired. She is a valued substitute with us. She is still in good standing, and in fact she is working today."

Egan said she missed St. Paul schools. "I'm not trying to make this a big case that my life is destroyed," she said. "I keep getting told by Teachers On Call and St. Paul schools that I did something wrong, and I don't think that's true."

Zoë Peterson is a University of Minnesota journalism student on assignment for the Star Tribune. • 612-673-4109