Eighth-grader arrested for assault on teacher at Leeds Middle School

A 14-year-old student at Morris E. Leeds Middle School has been arrested for punching a science teacher in the face, officials said.

The incident happened around 9:40 a.m., according to School District of Philadelphia spokesman Fernando Gallard. He said the teacher had just handed back work that had been graded when an argument ensued.

“That started an argument between the student and the teacher, and that led to an assault on the teacher,” Gallard said.

The male teacher, who was not identified, was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center, officials said. He suffered a dislocated shoulder and two dislocated thumbs, according to Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Jordan complained that recent budget cuts have left schools with fewer non-instructional support personnel to deal with altercations.

“As the district has continued to shear away the non-instructional support in buildings, incidents like this are more likely to happen because if there’s an altercation between a teacher and a student there’s no adult who can intervene,” he said.

Leeds has two school police officers, Gallard said, and was not affected by the cuts to school police two weeks ago. He did not have information on the number of non-instructional support staff at the school or if any had been recently laid off.

Neither Gallard or Jordan had information about the teacher’s background, although Gallard said he is a veteran teacher.

The student, an eight-grader, is expected to be face aggravated assault and related charges.

Leeds, with grades 7 and 8, has an enrollment of 260 students. The school ranked below the district average in reading and math scores on the PSSA in 2010-2011, according to the district.

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