Substitute teacher attacked at school is dismissed

A substitute teacher who was assaulted by a student after the teacher took his cellphone away is reportedly no longer being allowed to work in St. Paul schools.

Candice Egan, who was subbing at Creative Arts school in St. Paul, went to the Pioneer Press with her story last Friday after the incident.

Egan said she decided to speak out, after a reporter contacted her, because she hopes the school district and parents “will acknowledge that something’s really wrong and changes will be made in policy.”

She said she sees students who are out of control and who don’t face consequences for their behavior, which she thinks makes for dangerous situations. But more often than not, Egan said she “sees so many wonderful things and lovely kids” in the St. Paul schools.

Egan, who is employed by a company called Teachers On Call, tells City Pages that she reported the assault to the school’s principal, but she’s been told she’s no longer welcome in St. Paul schools. Her supervisor also said she shouldn’t have contacted the media.

“It really sucks to not have any income,” Egan told City Pages. “I’m really good at my job, and the schools where I sub a lot, I have handfuls of kids come up to me to give me hugs, and tell me they love me… I work really hard at connecting with kids, and trying to make a difference. I don’t want to go get a job at Target.”

There have been several incidents of students attacking teachers in the St. Paul system this year. One left a Central High teacher unconscious, another in December injured a St. Paul Central teacher. A loaded gun was found in a student’s backpack at Harding High School in October. And earlier this month a Como Park teacher reported that two students punched him and threw him to the ground.

The incidents come in the wake of a change in discipline policy aimed at curbing suspensions in the school.

[Update 4:13 p.m. – Statement from school department released]

Saint Paul Public Schools has a teaching staff of over 3,200. Because of the size of the district, substitutes are present in schools on a daily basis.

SPPS uses an outside vendor, Teachers on Call, to employ the substitute teachers it requires. While Teachers on Call does a great job of meeting district needs, there are not contracts with individual substitute teachers that guarantee placement.

Candice Egan works for Teachers on Call and is not an employee of SPPS. That means she cannot be fired from SPPS. Teachers on Call can choose to deploy Ms. Egan to other school districts.

The situation with Ms. Egan is unusual in that it involved a dispute with a student that led to a police report. The district is reviewing the situation. It is a practice of SPPS to not ask substitutes back to work during an ongoing police or district investigation, as is the case with Ms. Egan.

Further, the district has the right to request that substitutes not be placed in its schools. There are various reasons why substitutes may not be asked to work for the district. Talking to the media is not one of them.

Related: Teacher injured in Central High attack was at fault, district alleges (Star Tribune)