Youngstown charter school teacher's future unclear after fight w - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown charter school teacher's future unclear after fight with student

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Mark Vrooman Mark Vrooman
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

A teacher with the Life Skills alternative school in Youngstown has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault involving one of his students.

Teacher Mark Vrooman had to exchange his classroom for a courtroom on Tuesday after a fight with one of his students where witnesses say it was the teacher who took the first swing.

Vrooman appeared in Youngstown Municipal Court without an attorney and seemed so anxious to enter his not guilty plea he nearly stepped on Judge Elizabeth Kobly's words.

On Monday police responded to Life Skills on Market Street in the city to help breakup the fight between the teacher and an 18 year old student.

 "I guess the student had a laptop and the teacher wanted the laptop back," said YPD Police Lt. Ramon Cox. "The teacher walks up grabs the laptop, they get into some type of verbal argument where the student gets up and approaches the teacher.  The teacher turns around and strikes the student in the face with the laptop."

The student admits he stood up and was approaching the teacher asking for the laptop computer back so he could log off when Vrooman struck him.

The officer on scene noted that the student had multiple contusions to his face and called an ambulance.  But the student refused medical treatment and was taken to the hospital by his family.

Youngstown Police on the scene took statements from students and two teachers allegedly in the room at the time of the assault also gave written statements to officers.

Vrooman told Judge Kobly he plans to hire an attorney.

When 21 News tried to talk to Vrooman as he stopped at the Clerk of Courts office to find out his next court date, he spotted the cameras, quickly turned the other way and made his way out of a side door to avoid commenting.

According to Ohio Department of Education records, Vrooman has been licensed to teach integrated language arts to adolescents and young adults since 2012, and has no disciplinary history.

Detectives are not releasing the name of the 18 year old since he is still a student, but say he is someone familiar to police.

Life Skills is an alternative high school for students who may face challenges in the traditional school setting.

It's unclear what discipline the teacher could face with the school.

The administrator at Life Skills in Youngstown sent a police officer out to the front of the school to tell a news crew from 21 News that she was not making any statements.

A call to the Life Skills headquarters in Akron received no response.

It's unclear if the laptop computer at issue was the students or the schools.

Youngstown Police at last check say they were still trying to reach the alleged victim in the case to take a formal statement.

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