A 53-year-old teacher is facing charges of malicious punishment of a child and fifth-degree assault after an 18-year-old student reported being hit in the head with backpack during class in September.
According to the criminal complaint, the teen told police he was in Robert Carl Shoemaker's ecology class on Sept. 26 when he put his head down on his desk during a slide show presentation because he was feeling ill and tired. The teen said he heard Shoemaker stop talking and walk over before he felt a backpack strike the back of his head.
An officer with the St. Peter Police Department also interviewed several classmates. One confirmed that the teen had said he was not feeling well prior to class, and all the students interviewed described watching Shoemaker pick up the backpack from the floor, raise it above his head, and throw it down on the teen.
The teen further alleged that when he lifted his head, Shoemaker was "in his face" and yelled at him, telling the then-17-year-old that if he was a leader on the football and wrestling teams, he needed to also be a leader in the classroom.
Charging documents go on to say that Shoemaker then returned to teaching, but he then asked the teen to stay behind after the rest of the class had been dismissed. The student said Shoemaker approached him to say he has a temper and apologized for throwing the backpack.
The teen went to the River's Edge Emergency Department after a headache and low-grade fever developed, and he was discharged from the Emergency Room with a bruised neck, according to the charges.
When the backpack was weighed by staff at St. Peter High School, it was found to weigh about 11 pounds.
If convicted on both charges, Shoemaker faces a maximum penalty of 1 year and 90 days wand potential fines of $4,000.
Shoemaker was charged by summons and is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Nov. 19 at 8:30 a.m.