St. Peter High School science teacher charged with assault for striking student with backpack

Categories: Crime, Education
St. Peter Herald
Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker has been teaching science at St. Peter High School for two decades. In 2005, he was even named the science teacher of the year award by the Minnesota Science Teachers Association.

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But now, Shoemaker faces charges of malicious punishment of a child and fifth-degree assault after a 17-year-old student told police about a September 26 classroom incident where Shoemaker allegedly bopped him on the head with a heavy backpack.

The Mankato Free Press details what happened:
Shoemaker, 53, had been talking during [a] slideshow [in ecology class] but stopped talking after the student put his head down, the complaint said [the student told police he put his head down because he wasn't feeling well]. The student reported he heard Shoemaker walk toward him before he was hit on the head with the backpack. Staff at the high school weighed the backpack after the incident and determined it weighed 11 pounds when it was thrown at the student's head, the complaint said.

When the student lifted his head, Shoemaker was "in his face" and yelling at him, he reported. Shoemaker then asked the student if he was a leader on the football team and a leader on the wrestling team. When the student said he was, Shoemaker told him he should be a leader in the classroom as well, according to the complaint.

Shoemaker also asked the student to stay after class to talk to him. During that discussion, Shoemaker told him he had a temper and apologized for throwing a backpack at him, the student reported.
The alleged victim went to the emergency room after he developed a headache and fever and was discharged with a diagnosis of a bruised neck.

Another student who witnessed the incident told police they became scared after Shoemaker hit the student and started yelling at him.

Shoemaker was charged by summons yesterday. If convicted, he faces up to 15 months behind bars.

St. Peter school district officials, citing privacy laws, haven't said whether Shoemaker is still teaching, but the Free Press, citing a conversation with the superintendent, reports he's still on the school's payroll at least.

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My Voice Nation Help

Kid wasn't injured, non-story, teacher should be reprimanded and not charged.  Maybe some anger management recommended for this teacher.  And lets not forget, he did it in a misguided attempt to motivate the kid, if a teacher had done this to me, my Father would have thanked him, then REALLY given me a smack after the fact.  Jail for caring enough to get emotional at a kid who maybe needs some motivation in the brain area less so than the muscle area?  wow, what a crime.


Mr. Shoemaker has a reputation as a stellar teacher.  Two local judges have declined to take the case because they are acquaintances.  Let's hope this incident doesn't sour his motivation.

Later in the day Mr. Leader went to his football practice.

Michelle Lutz
Michelle Lutz

I graduated from St. Peter High School and this man was one my favorite teachers. This is absurd. Sounds like some smartass kid trying to cause trouble.

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