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Student Attack Leaves Mpls. Principal With Concussion

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The latest assault by a student left Minneapolis school principal Monica Fabre healing from a concussion.

The 47-year-old has yet to return to her job at Harrison Education Center, a school for emotionally and behaviorally challenged students.

"There are about 43 students who attend this school," said Minneapolis Public Schools interim superintendent Michael Goar.

While he couldn't discuss details of the attack Thursday, Goar says that protecting district staff from aggressive behavior is a priority.

Throughout the district, faculty members are trained annually in preventing violence. Training is ongoing at the district's special needs schools, like Harrison.

"We take the issues of student violence seriously in Minneapolis Public Schools," Goar said. "We do extensive training on de-escalation as well as teacher safety."

According to the police incident report, Fabre was struck by a 17-year-old female student on the morning of Dec. 7. That student was placed in juvenile detention and could face fifth-degree misdemeanor assault charges.

This latest incident of student-on-staff violence comes on the heels of a teacher assault at Central High in St. Paul several weeks ago.

Central teacher John Eckblad was attacked while breaking up a fight between several students. He was injured in the assault and has since filed an injury lawsuit against St. Paul Public Schools.

Due to the special needs of the emotional and behavioral students at Harrison, there's nearly a one-to-one ratio of students to staff.

District administration says maintaining a close supervision on the neediest of students is a big key to preventing violent behavior.

"There have been incidents always in education where, unfortunately, staff member have gotten hurt," said chief academic officer Suzanne Griffin. "We don't ever want that to happen, and we try to then figure out what happened in that particular case."

In 2015, Ramsey County prosecuted 38 cases of four-degree assault involving students, an increase from the previous year.

In Hennepin County, the number of school assaults has actually dropped.

There were 27 cases prosecuted in 2015 compared to 40 during the 2014 school year. Of those cases, six involved teachers or staff in 2015, compared to 13 in 2014.

The current case involving Fabre is still pending. Fabre won't comment on the details of the attack but wants to say that she's committed to her special needs students.

She added that she wants badly to come back to work, but just can't say when that will be.

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