Police Say Teacher Cut Ninth-Grader With Scissors

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 25, 2006

An English teacher at a Prince George's County high school was charged with assault yesterday after he allegedly cut a student on the wrist with a pair of scissors before a class, police said.

Several students were in Sean E. Tape's classroom at Oxon Hill High when he allegedly assaulted a 15-year-old ninth-grader out of anger, police said.

The incident allegedly occurred at 1:40 p.m. in Tape's classroom, which is in a trailer.

According to statements given to police by witnesses, Tape and the student were "horseplaying" and "wrestling" before class, said Cpl. Diane Richardson, a police spokeswoman.

After the horseplay stopped, students noticed that Tape, 34, had become displeased, Richardson said. It was not clear what angered him, she said.

"At some point, the teacher appeared to get angry and grabbed the scissors from his desk," Richardson said. "There is no indication that horseplay was involved at the time the student was cut."

The student, whose name was not released by police, suffered a three-inch cut on top of his right wrist and was taken to a hospital, where he received eight stitches, Richardson said.

Tape, who lives in Mitchellville, was arrested at the school and was later charged with second-degree assault. His family could not be reached for comment.

He has taught English at Oxon Hill for the past two years, said Prince George's school system spokesman John White.

White said Tape was "immediately removed from the student population." He added that school administrators will continue to investigate to determine what, if any, disciplinary action to take.

Oxon Hill Principal Gordon Libby sent a letter home to parents yesterday about the incident.

"On our part, school staff responded quickly to prevent further injury to either person," White said. "No other students were in jeopardy at the time. We are continuing to investigate what led up to this incident."

He said now is a good time for parents and teachers to talk to students about appropriate classroom behavior.

"If students experience anything out of the ordinary, we want them to report it to an adult," White said.

Staff writer Nick Anderson and staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.

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