Harlem High School teacher allegedly punched, student arrested

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 3:37 PM EDT
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HARLEM, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A 19-year-old student was arrested after a Harlem High School teacher was allegedly punched multiple times in the face, according to an arrest warrant.

On Tuesday between 2 p.m. and 2:50 p.m., the warrant states the 19-year-old is accused of hitting Matthew J. Gross in the head and the face, causing Gross to bite his tongue at the school, 1070 Appling Harlem Highway.

According to Harlem High School’s website, Gross is an ASD-Life Skills teacher.

The arrest warrant states, “Mr. Gross is a teacher for Columbia County schools and was performing official duties at the time.”

According to inmate records, the student is charged with battery on school teacher or other school personnel. He was booked into the Columbia County Detention Center on Tuesday.

“Safety of students and staff is a top priority, and oftentimes the educational needs of students bring a variety of challenges that our very caring and well-trained staff work hard to meet each day,” the school district said in a statement to News 12.

School officials say the incident involved several staff members attempting to keep a student from harm. This resulted in the student making “inappropriate physical contact with the teacher.”

Medical attention was not needed and no other students were involved in the incident, officials say.