Student accused of slamming, choking teacher pleads guilty

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The 16-year-old St. Paul student who left a teacher with a "traumatic brain injury" after an assault in school has pleaded guilty.

The Pioneer Press says the student, who was accused of body slamming and choking his teacher at Central High School on Dec. 4, pleaded guilty to felony third-degree assault, gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and obstructing the legal process at Ramsey County Juvenile Court Friday.

The teenager told the judge he was trying to break up a fight between his freshman younger brother and a senior student, the paper says. The teen says John Ekblad – a science teacher – grabbed him from behind, and the student pushed him to get to his brother, according to the newspaper.

Ekblad was hospitalized with neck trauma, a concussion and a brain injury, FOX 9 reports. 

The boy is back with his parents and has been placed on house arrest, Star Tribune reports. The paper says the 16-year-old will be in court in January for juvenile disposition or sentencing.

It started as a lunchroom argument

The incident started with two students – the attacker's freshman brother and a senior – talking football stats in the school's cafeteria, FOX 9 says.

Innocent trash talk escalated into a physical fight.

According to the station, witnesses claim the 16-year-old slammed Ekblad into a concrete wall and a table, before starting to choke him. It was previously reported he blacked out for 10 to 20 seconds, and the Pioneer Press says he has suffered from headaches and nausea since the attack.

The student is also accused of pushing the assistant principal into a wall, Star Tribune reports.

His 15-year-old brother has been charged with gross misdemeanor assault after authorities say he assaulted staff members as well as the assistant principal, whom he allegedly punched "repeatedly in the upper chest."

It comes amid a spike in student attacks on teachers in St. Paul and Ramsey County this year, reports of which have doubled compared to 2014. A city teacher wrote a piece in the Pioneer Press this week in which they said teachers "are afraid" for their safety in schools.

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