Teacher pleads to assault on student

July 04, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

A North Hagerstown High School teacher on Thursday pleaded guilty in Washington County District Court to a second-degree assault charge that resulted from an incident in class in April.

Dennis Garrett Laub, 51, of 3559 Turnberry Drive, Chambersburg, Pa., initially was charged on May 1 with two counts of second-degree assault in connection with the April 28 incident. As part of the plea agreement, the Washington County State's Attorney's Office dropped one charge.

District Judge W. Milnor Roberts ordered a pre-sentence investigation during the hearing Thursday. No sentencing date was scheduled at the hearing.


Laub, through his lawyer, Thomas Morrow, declined to comment after the hearing.

At the hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Steven C. Kessell said Laub had ordered a student out of his classroom at about 9:30 a.m. When that student said something on the way out, a male student chuckled at the comment.

Kessell said Laub grabbed the second student on the neck, forced him toward the classroom door and threw a notebook at him, but missed. Kessell said the student's shirt was torn, and he received a 2 1/2-inch scratch on his neck.

Kessell called the scratch an "open wound," but Morrow disputed that definition. "'Open wound' conjures up images of battlefield injuries. That was not the case," Morrow said.

According to charging documents, police said Laub also turned over a desk at which a female student was seated. She allegedly was bruised, but the charge relating to that allegation was the one that was dropped.

Laub was assigned to administrative work outside the school after the charges were filed, and "to my knowledge, he remains in that status," Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said by phone Thursday.

Don Francis, the school system's Human Resources director, said "the board will take appropriate action" in Laub's case, but declined to elaborate citing employee confidentiality.

The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor charge of second-degree assault is 10 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.

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