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Pittsburgh charter school teacher charged with assaulting student in detention

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CBS News Pittsburgh Live

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A Pittsburgh charter school teacher is charged with assaulting a student during detention, according to court paperwork. 

Dennis Holderbaum is facing charges of endangering the welfare of children, simple assault and harassment after an altercation at New Academy Charter School on Jan. 31, police said. 

According to the criminal complaint, witnesses told police it started when the juvenile threw a ball of tape at Holderbaum. The witnesses said Holderbaum got mad and threw something else at the victim before tackling him.

When the victim talked to police, he said he was "playing around" and didn't think the tape ball was that hard, but after he hit Holderbaum, he realized the teacher was mad. 

The victim said Holderbaum threw a pencil sharpener at his face then "came at him," trying to put him in a headlock and punching him once. The victim said while Holderbaum's arm was around his neck, he had trouble breathing.

When detectives talked to Holderbaum, he said he felt like the kids were "ganging up on him." 

According to police, Holderbaum said the victim threw the tape ball at him and then started moving quickly toward him. Holderbaum told detectives he tried to get the student "into some kind of safety hold," but the student kept trying to hit Holderbaum, and Holderbaum brought him to the ground.  

Holderbaum also denied punching the student, telling police he took photos of his hands that showed he had no injuries.

New Academy Charter School said Holderbaum was placed on administrative leave. 

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