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St. Paul teacher says he's 'kind of broken' after student attack


"I'm kind of broken right now."

That's what John Ekblad, the teacher who was assaulted by a student while trying to break up a fight a St. Paul Central High School earlier this month, said at a news conference regarding a potential lawsuit against the school district.

He's been a teacher at the school for 21 years and has frequently intervened in fights between students, according to the Pioneer Press. But recently, the level of violence has gotten worse, and his colleagues fear something similar could happen to them, FOX 9 reports.

Ekblad suffered a serious brain injury when witnesses say a 16-year-old student, who pleaded guilty to charges, slammed him into a concrete wall and a table. On Tuesday, Exblad told reporters he doesn't remember the incident, adding he has a constant headache and numbness on the right side, MPR News' Jon Collins

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He is seeking more than $50,000 in damages, the Pioneer Press says, but is requesting a mediated settlement instead of filing a lawsuit. Ekblad's attorneys allege the district was negligent "in failing to provide him with a workplace free of assaultive behavior and violence in general."

They also argue the district failed to properly safeguard its teachers and staff members, despite being aware of ongoing violence towards teachers within the St. Paul Public School District.

This was the 27th case Ramsey County has handled this year relating to students attacking school officials – a figure that’s almost double last year’s number. Following recent violent incidents in St. Paul schools, the district announced initiatives to help with the climate at the school and strategies to address violence.

District 'saddened' by the situation

St. Paul Public Schools issued a statement to BringMeTheNews regarding the potential lawsuit, saying the district is "extremely saddened by this situation" but it cannot comment about ongoing or potential lawsuits.

The statement continued: The district "does not and will not tolerate violence against anyone in the district," and discipline policies have "always specified severe consequences for students who jeopardize the safety of others and we do not shy away from enforcing these policies."

St. Paul Central was in the spotlight again this week after a student apparently sent threats over social media on Monday, the Pioneer Press reports. Police determined the threat wasn't credible and arrested the teenager on suspicion of terrorist threats.

The teenager did tell police he didn't have any intention of doing anything and the messages were supposed to be funny, the paper adds.

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