Middle school students face felony charges after assaulting 2 school employees

Teacher shoved, ESE associate injured
Posted at 4:50 AM, Apr 28, 2017

Pinellas deputies arrested three teens after a violent confrontation between students and staff at Seminole Middle School. 

According to deputies, the hallway brawl started with a disruptive 14-year-old student who was sent out of the classroom on April 18. 

Deputies say the agitated student shoved his teacher, Jacklyn Rivera, several times before violently pushing his way through the classroom door. 

Surveillance video shows several students dragging the student back outside into the hallway seconds later. 

An arrest report states that's when a melee breaks out. 

"Teachers are not punching bags," said Marianne Stevens.  "Sickening. Totally sickening. I'm surprised that somebody else didn't come to their aid."

First to respond is Mark McConnell, an ESE associate at Seminole Middle School. 

Just when all appears to be calm in the hallway, one student steals McConnell's school keys from his pocket.  

McConnell tries to get them back but fails as another student pins him against a locker and forces him to the ground. 

Pinellas County deputies returned to the school on April 21 to arrest the three students for battery on a school employee. 

In a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office report, the Seminole Middle School principal placed blame for what happened on the staff members, not students. 

An investigating deputy stated that after reviewing the surveillance video, it appears that staff members did nothing wrong. 

McConnell suffered a sprained shoulder and a sprained wrist from the scuffle with students.  Family members tell ABC Action News that he is back to work and is doing OK. 

In a statement to ABC Action News, Pinellas County Schools says it is "reviewing the incident to determine if there are areas for improvement in meeting the needs of students and employees at all times."