The Free Press, Mankato, MN

St. Peter news

October 31, 2013

St. Peter teacher charged with abuse, assault

Backpack thrown at student allegedly occurred during class

ST. PETER — A St. Peter High School science teacher, who has worked at the school for two decades, has been charged with malicious punishment of a child and assault for allegedly throwing a backpack at a student's head during a class.

The incident was reported to a St. Peter police officer Sept. 27, a day after it allegedly occurred in Robert Shoemaker's ecology class. The criminal complaint filed in Nicollet County District Court does not say who reported the incident.

Officer Thomas Winsell was told a student identified as K.M.B. in the complaint was watching a slide show with other students in Shoemaker's class when the alleged assault occurred. The student, who was 17 at the time but recently had a birthday, said he wasn't feeling well and was tired, so he put his head down on his desk.

Shoemaker, 53, had been talking during the slideshow but stopped talking after the student put his head down, the complaint said. The student reported he heard Shoemaker walk toward him before he was hit on the head with the backpack. Staff at the high school weighed the backpack after the incident and determined it weighed 11 pounds when it was thrown at the student's head, the complaint said.

When the student lifted his head, Shoemaker was "in his face" and yelling at him, he reported. Shoemaker then asked the student if he was a leader on the football team and a leader on the wrestling team. When the student said he was, Shoemaker told him he should be a leader in the classroom as well, according to the complaint.

Shoemaker also asked the student to stay after class to talk to him. During that discussion, Shoemaker told him he had a temper and apologized for throwing a backpack at him, the student reported.

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