Sub­sti­tute banned fol­low­ing shoethrow­ing in­ci­dent

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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.

ELKTON

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.

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