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Florida teacher charged for allegedly encouraging middle school locker room fight

<i>WESH</i><br/>Melbourne police have charged a middle school teacher with child neglect after they say he failed to break up a fight among students on campus.
WESH
Melbourne police have charged a middle school teacher with child neglect after they say he failed to break up a fight among students on campus.

By Katie Sivco

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    MELBOURNE, Florida (WESH) — Melbourne police have charged a middle school teacher with child neglect after they say he failed to break up a fight among students on campus.

According to police, a fight in the boy’s locker room broke out during gym class at Johnson Middle School on April 21. A school resource officer was made aware of the fight a few days later.

Police say physical education teacher Paul Eller, 58, is on video watching the fight alongside students. The fight stops when one of the students gets hurt, but then Eller allegedly made a noise encouraging the fight to continue.

The two students began fighting again, and police say it wasn’t until a third student joined in that police say Eller tried to break the fight up.

Eller is also charged with culpable negligence and disrupting a school function.

Principal Marina Saporito-Middleton addressed the families in a letter to Longhorn families last Monday.

She said, in part, “It was reported that the teacher allegedly played a role in allowing students to fight on our campus…There is an active police investigation…I can tell you that the teacher has been placed on administrative leave and currently not allowed on campus.”

A similar statement came from the school district but added, “Upon learning of this allegation, law enforcement and the Department of Children and Families were contacted.”

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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