Substitute Teacher In Alleged Mashpee High School Assault Will Not Face Charges

A clerk magistrate in Falmouth District Court today, April 24, ruled Paul L. Arnold, a Mashpee High School substitute teacher, will not face assault and battery charges stemming from an alleged scuffle with a student on March 3.

Last month, Mashpee Police Chief Rodney C. Collins announced that the investigation was closed and that no charges would be filed in the case.

In turn, Thomas Greene, the parent of the student, filed assault and battery charges in Falmouth District Court against Mr. Arnold.

“I’m glad it’s over. It’s disturbing when you spend your life in education, and something like this happens” said Mr. Arnold, who confirmed today’s court decision.

In a three-page letter sent to Mashpee school superintendent Brian A. Hyde last month, Police Chief Rodney C. Collins detailed the reasons behind his decision not to prosecute.

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According to the letter, the male juvenile student admitted to making hostile, profanity-laced statements to the teacher. When the teacher demanded that the student leave the class, the teacher indicated that the student was engaging in “bizarre behavior” and that the student made contact with him while departing.

“There is no indication that the teacher overreacted or engaged in any assault and battery to injure or to cause any unprivileged contact. Rather it appears the substitute teacher reacted to control a disorderly, disrespectful and unruly student. It is understandable that the teacher felt concern, if not fear, about the totally unjustifiable actions of this male student. It is logical how the teacher felt an imminent threat by the student given the totality of the circumstances as soon as the initial physical contact was made. It is reasonable and prudent to conclude that the teacher felt compelled to control the situation taking into account this juvenile’s appalling behavior and comments,” Chief Collins wrote.

Chief Collins cited Section 37-G (b) of Massachusetts General Law as the basis for his decision. It states that “the provisions of this section shall not preclude any member of the school committee or any teacher or any agent of the school committee from using such reasonable force as is necessary to protect pupils, other persons, and themselves from an assault by a pupil.”

When asked to comment on today’s decision, Chief Collins response was brief and to the point.

“The outcome is what I would expect,” he said.

Mr. Greene did not return a call for comment.

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