Akron teacher body-slammed by student is punched in the face by another student in separate incident

AKRON, Ohio - An Akron East High School teacher, who was body-slammed in his classroom by a student three months ago, has filed another police report after a different student punched him in his left eye.

In the most recent case on February 6, Keith Rawling, 39, said he heard a loud commotion in the classroom next to his and he went to check on the safety of the teacher and students.

According to the police report, Rawling got in between the students and told a 15-year-year boy to leave the classroom in an effort to defuse the situation.

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Rawling told the student to go to the principal's office, but the student walked back into the classroom and reengaged with the other students, the report states.

Rawling told police the student came back into the hallway and chest-bumped him.

"It got to the point where I had to push him away from me for my safety. Pushed him away from me. At that point, he punched me in the face," Rawling told News 5.

Police charged the student with assault and menacing.

Last November, Rawling was body-slammed in his classroom by a 15-year-old student, moments after the teacher broke up a fight.

That student was charged with assault and menacing. He has a hearing Friday morning in Summit County Juvenile Court.

Rawling is among 22 teachers who have filed grievances, arguing the district is violating the contract by not expelling and/or reassigning some students who assault teachers.

"I'm just trying to highlight the fact that it's a really not a small thing. It's a big issue, a safety issue," Rawling said.

Superintendent David James and School Board President Patrick Bravo said a committee is being formed to take a closer look at school climate and disciplinary issues.

Both also stressed there are many factors that go into decision making for student discipline.

In 2010, the State Board of Education found Rawling used "inappropriate discipline techniques to redirected noncompliant students."

In a consent agreement, Rawling took training on classroom management.

Rawling said that situation stemmed from an incident when he was teaching at Buchtel High School. He took a girl's cell phone and put it in his pocket after she refused to put it away in the classroom. He said the girl then attacked him.

"She jumped on my back and had me in a headlock and from there we wrestled around," Rawling said.

Rawling received a written reprimand from the district.

"It is not acceptable to have any physical contact with students or to use unnecessary or unreasonable force when dealing with students," the reprimand states.

In a 2011 incident, Rawling had an encounter with an East student who was upset about his grade.

Rawling said a student came up behind him, used profanity and attempted to slam his head on a desk.

According to APS documents, the teacher and student ended up on the floor and the struggle was broken up by a security guard and another teacher.

The student was transferred to the Phoenix program. Rawling was not disciplined but was required to complete a Crisis Prevention Institute training class.

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