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After Student Attack, St. Paul Teacher Plans To Sue School District

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The teacher who was attacked by a student earlier in December is planning on suing St. Paul Public Schools, saying the district has failed to keep teachers safe.

The law firm Villaume & Shiek, P.A. announced Monday that they have been retained by John Ekblad, a St. Paul teacher, to "commence civil litigation against the St. Paul Public Schools for negligence in failing to provide him with a workplace free of assaultive behavior and violence in general."

On Friday, Dec. 4, a 16-year-old St. Paul student allegedly body slammed and choked Ekblad, his teacher at Center High School.

Fon'Tae O'Bannon is accused of slamming Ekblad into a cafeteria table and chair when Ekblad tried intervening in a fight. The student then choked him until he was unconscious. O'Bannon was charged with third-degree assault.

Ekblad suffered brain damage and a concussion in the incident and needed hospitalization.

"The School District has been on notice that there is a physical violence problem towards teachers in the School District by its students. However, the School District has failed to properly safeguard its teachers," the law firm said. "The School District had knowledge of the harassment, violence, or assaultive behavior of its students, but did not take any appropriate disciplinary action against its students, nor did the School District take and remedial action to prevent assaultive or dangerous conduct."

Ekblad will be making a statement at a press conference Tuesday at the law firm's Bloomington office.

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