- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A substitute teacher in St. Paul said she was repeatedly pushed by a seventh-grade student after she took his cellphone when he refused to put it away.

Candice Egan told the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/1RkULXp) that she was teaching at Creative Arts High School when the attack happened Tuesday. She said the student used both hands and slammed her backward “very forcefully” more than once.

Egan, 63, said she tried to get away, but the student blocked her into a corner. He continued to shove her and she hit a window, and he kept hanging up the phone when she tried to call for help.

“I love teaching and I love kids that age,” Egan said. “I can’t imagine my life without teaching, but I was really scared.”

Egan said she has had shoulder and neck pain since the assault and is going to have an MRI. Police said on Friday that they are investigating.

St. Paul Public Schools has been working on safety issues this year after a spike in suspensions related to fights and other reasons. At least two teachers have been hospitalized after assaults by students.

A task force will meet over the summer to consider changes to discipline policies. Through teacher contract negotiations, the district will also spend several million dollars to hire new support staff and implement restorative practices designed to stop student misbehavior before it starts.

“SPPS is aware a report was filed with St. Paul police regarding a situation between a student and substitute teacher at Creative Arts High School,” a school district spokesman said in a statement Friday, “. The incident is currently a police matter and we cannot comment further at this time.”

Since January, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has charged six students from schools throughout the county with fourth-degree assault, which is infliction of demonstrable bodily harm upon a school official. In all of 2015, 28 students were charged with fourth-degree assault, the most since 2010.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

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