A teacher at Johnson High School in St. Paul reported being struck in the head from behind earlier this month while trying to break up a fight between two students, police said.
The teacher was not injured, and no one has been charged. But the March 4 incident involving Johnson High teacher John Fischbach is the latest in a string of recent cases in which St. Paul teachers have reported being hit by students.
The incident was documented in a police report released Monday but filed Friday afternoon. That was the same day that two 16-year-old boys each were charged with one count of felony third-degree assault related to an incident at Como Park High School last week.
Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman, gave this account of the Fischbach incident at Johnson:
Two girls, ages 16 and 15, began fighting over items that had been taken from one of them. Fischbach and other staffers intervened with the students, and the assistant principal was called to the scene.
"They find the two girls tangled together with several staff members trying to stop the fight," Ernster said.
Fischbach separated the girls but — at some point while holding onto at least one of them — was struck in the head from behind by a 16-year-old boy who was not involved in the fight, Ernster said.
The alleged assault occurred between 11 and 11:30 a.m.
"The teacher did not sustain any injury, but felt the contact was offensive," Ernster said.
The boy denied striking Fischbach, but he told authorities that he did not like how the teacher had been treating the two girls.
The St. Paul Public Schools issued a statement Monday that confirmed the reported assault, but did not elaborate.
"All students and staff have a right to feel safe and secure in school," the statement said. "Any acts of violence are not tolerated and students are held accountable in accordance with our rights and responsibilities handbook."
Attacks at Como, Central
In last Wednesday's incident, Como Park teacher Mark Rawlings was trying to head off a fight when two boys allegedly punched him and he fell to the ground, hitting his head.
On Dec. 4, a 16-year-old student put Central High School teacher John Ekblad in a chokehold and slammed him into a table and onto the ground after Ekblad tried to break up a fight between other students.
In that case, the student pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 90 days of intensive supervised probation and electronic home monitoring.
According to the district's website, Fischbach has worked for the St. Paul schools for more than 35 years and has coached for more than 30 years, with most of them as head varsity softball coach at Como Park.
His biography indicates that he works with children diagnosed with emotional and behavior disorders.
"I've seen many changes" in my years of teaching, Fischbach wrote on his teacher's page on the district website. "The one thing that never changes is the satisfaction I get out of helping students who are willing to make positive changes and invest in their education."
He added that teaching may be a challenge, but that was "what keeps me coming to work everyday!"