Substitute banned following shoethrowing incident
— A former substitute teacher accused of hurling his shoe at a Bohemia Manor Middle School student is barred from Cecil County Public School property and from any paid or unpaid involvement with that system – and with any group “charged with the care or education of minors,” according to court records.
Those are two of the conditions listed by prosecutors Friday when placing the state’s assault case against the defendant, Daniel Patrick Hudgins, 20, of North East, on the stet, or inactive, docket, during a brief Cecil County District Court hearing.
In a stetted case, the state can elect to prosecute the defendant at any time during the next three years. However, during the last two years, the state must first convince a judge that good cause exists to seek prosecution.
Specifically, under one of the conditions of the stet, Hudgins “shall not enter or be on any property owned or controlled by the Cecil County Public School system,” according to court records.
A second condition decrees that Hudgins “shall not be employed and shall not volunteer as a teacher, substitute teacher, coach, counselor or mentor for any organization charged with the care or education of minors.”
Moreover, the state lists “athletic teams, marching bands, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, mentoring programs or camps” as groups and organizations from which Hudgins is prohibited.
The last condition of the stet is that Hudgins “obey all laws.”
Until the three-year stet period is over, the sole charge against Hudgins – second-degree assault – will remain in the criminal record system as an inactive case. Second-degree assault is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Cecil County Sheriff’s Office investigators served Hudgins a criminal summons charging him with second-degree assault on Feb. 26, some 25 days after the incident occurred, police said. They did so after consulting with the Cecil County State’s Attorney’s Office, police added. Hudgins was not arrested, police noted.
Charging papers allege that the shoe thrown by Hudgins during a chorus class on Feb. 1 struck a female student’s hand, causing swelling and redness that is documented in a cellphone photo.
During an interview with investigators, Hudgins admitted to throwing both of his shoes during that sixth period chorus class — but said he was trying to hit the wall behind the students and that he intended to throw the shoe over the students’ heads, police reported.
Hudgins contended that he tossed his shoes to get the attention of the unruly students in the classroom, police said. Moreover, police added, Hudgins asserted that it was a tactic he had learned from an instructor at Bohemia Manor High School, which shares a building with the middle school.
“Mr. Hudgins said that he has a music background and he teaches woodwind instruments and he volunteers with marching band at Bohemia Manor. Mr. Hudgins said that when the students are not listening or paying attention, one method that the instructor uses to get the band’s attention is to throw a shoe over the entire band’s head and then (the shoe) lands in the football field,” according to the charging document.
Hudgins told investigators that he had “lost his voice” during that chorus class, so he had been using his hands to get the attention of the class, to no avail, police said. Then he decided to use “the shoe method,” police added.
“Mr. Hudgins said he removed his shoe and ‘ tossed’ it towards the wall, with the intention of gaining the students’ attention. Mr. Hudgins stated his shoe hit a paper out of a female student’s hand and she ‘ jumped,’ but did not make any comment,” court records show.
Hudgins told investigators that he apologized to the girl for making her jump and that he had no idea his shoe had struck her, police reported.
Because the students continued to ignore him, he took off his other shoe and threw it “across the classroom towards the back of the room,” according to Hudgins’ account in court records.
“Mr. Hudgins reported the shoe hit the ceiling but did not come near any students in the class. Mr. Hudgins reported that he saw another student ‘ jump,’ and Mr. Hudgins said he again apologized. Mr. Hudgins advised that he told the class in a joking/ teasing manner that he was ‘out of shoes now and the only thing I have left is the drumsticks,’” court records allege.
Accounts given to investigators by the victim and by other stu- dents in that classroom indicate that the second thrown shoe narrowly missed a female pupil, who had walked away from her desk to toss chewing gum into a trash can, court records show.
Those students used terms like “getting out of hand,” and “acting up” to describe the behavior of the pupils in the classroom at the time of the incident, court records indicate. The student who had been hit by the shoe estimated that Hudgins was 10 to 15 feet away from her when he threw it, court records allege.
Hudgins contended that he did not throw the shoes “out of anger,” but because “he was out of ideas on how to get the attention of the class,” according to charging documents.
He told investigators that he taught two more classes after that sixth- period chorus class, before the BMMS assistant principal came to talk to him about the shoe- throwing incident, which came to light through student complaints, police reported.
School officials contacted Child Protective Services, which is part of the Cecil County Department of Social Services, shortly after hearing the allegations against Hudgins, police said.
Also, police added, the father of the victim contacted the BMMS school resources officer about 4 p. m. on Feb. 1 and reported that his daughter had been struck by a shoe allegedly tossed by a substitute teacher earlier that day, which led to investigators meeting with the girl and her parents.
Under CCPS protocol, a substitute teacher is removed from the substitute teacher list if he or she is involved in an incident that spurs an investigation, according to CCPS spokeswoman Kelly Keeton, who, categorizing the event as a “personal matter,” has declined to comment specifically about it.
But in general, she reported, the school system has a specific process for handling these types of situations. First, the parent of the alleged victim is contacted by a school administrator and then the DSS is notified. After that, the system is required by law to wait until that investigation is complete before conducting its own, Keeton told the Cecil Whig.
Keeton said that all substitute teachers go through a full day of training after being hiring, which includes “a review of the relevant policies and regulations of the school system and topics such as classroom management.”
All substitute teachers are fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background investigation, Keeton added.