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75-year-old substitute teacher asks for criminal charges against Perry Meridian student after attack

"If he would have assaulted me on Meridian Street he would be in jail."
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Posted at 4:50 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-05 16:07:44-05

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man is asking for criminal charges to be filed against a 16-year-old student of Perry Meridian High School after the student attacked him earlier this month.

Robert Gooding, 75, is recovering after a student attacked and beat him with a Chromebook inside of Perry Meridian High School. Gooding was working as a substitute teacher through Kelly Educational Services on the day of the attack.

Gooding tells WRTV he has been working as a permanent substitute for more than five years with Perry Township Schools. At the time of the attack, Gooding was substitute teaching an Intro to Business class.

Gooding says he was asking a female student to put her phone away and do her assignment on her Chromebook when a male student jumped up and hit him with their own Chromebook.

"He (swung) with the Chromebook and knocked me to the side," Gooding said. "The Chromebook fell from his hand and he hovered over me. With his left hand BOOM, he hit me."

READ MORE | Schools can't report teacher injuries to the state despite new law

According to Gooding, instead of the student being arrested at the school, he was released to his parents.

"If he would have assaulted me on Meridian Street, he would be in jail," Gooding said. "But, since he was in the school, they're protecting him. He should have been arrested."

Charges were filed against the juvenile on March 3. The 16-year-old faces faces charges of Battery Resulting in Moderate Bodily Injury and Criminal Recklessness, both level 6 felonies. He will be charged in juvenile court.

WRTV reached out to Perry Townships Schools regarding the incident. They released the following statement:

At Perry Township Schools, safety is our top priority. We are disturbed by the allegations involving a Kelly Services employee and student at Perry Meridian High School. Perry Police responded to the incident immediately.

A police report was forwarded to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office. Prosecutors will then make a decision on whether to file criminal charges. Due to confidentiality reasons, Perry Township Schools cannot comment on disciplinary action it takes against its students.

We can say, however, the district has zero tolerance for violence. Violence against staff, students or anyone else is taken seriously from a law enforcement perspective in our district. Any violation is subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Success Handbook.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office says the incident is under investigation.

Kelly Education provided the following statement to WRTV.

"We are deeply concerned by the recent incident involving one of our substitute teachers while on assignment. The safety and well-being of our employees are of the utmost importance. We are cooperating with the local authorities and the school district as they investigate this matter, and we will continue to work closely with the appropriate parties to provide necessary assistance."

House Enrolled Act 1591 took effect July 1, 2023.

The law requires schools to track teacher injuries and report the data to the Indiana Department of Education.

IDOE will compile the numbers, without identifiable information, into a publicly available database.