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Teacher faces assault charges

May 02, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN, MD. - A North Hagerstown High School teacher was charged with assault Thursday, three days after he was accused of grabbing one student by the neck and tipping over a second student's desk while she was sitting in it, Hagerstown City Police said.

Dennis Garrett Laub, 51, of 3559 Turnberry Drive in Chambersburg, Pa., was served with a criminal summons Thursday morning at the Washington County Board of Education. He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of second-degree assault, police said.

Laub, a Spanish teacher, has been assigned to administrative duties within the school system and was not working at North High, school administrators said Thursday.

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Laub has taught in Washington County schools for 14 years, all of it at North High, schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen said.

Laub did not return a voice message left at his home phone Thursday seeking comment.

Police said North High Principal Robert Myers called police at about 10:30 a.m. Monday after students told him about an incident between a teacher and students.

The officer saw one student with a ripped shirt and scratches on his neck, and another with a bruise on her arm, police alleged.

City Police Detective Steve Hoover said an argument erupted during the morning class period and "things kind of got out of hand."

The alleged incident started after Laub asked a student to leave the room, and as she was leaving she uttered an expletive, Hoover said.

A 15-year-old boy sitting at his desk "chuckled" at the comment, according to the statement of charges filed in Washington County District Court.

The teacher grabbed the boy "on the right side of his neck, causing a 2 1/2-inch scratch and tearing his shirt," and forcing the student toward the classroom door, the court papers allege.

As the boy was leaving classroom, Laub allegedly threw a notebook at him, but missed, according to court papers.

After the boy left the room, Laub allegedly upturned a desk-chair combination in which a 15-year-old girl was sitting, Hoover said. The girl fell to the floor and bruised her arm, Hoover said.

Court papers allege that the incidents "were not provoked by either of the victims. No physical threats were made" by the students.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said she would not comment on whether Laub had ever been disciplined by administrators.

Mowen said Laub's personnel case would be forwarded to the deputy superintendent's office for a decision on whether further action is necessary.

Conviction on a count of second-degree assault carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.

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