What happens when a teacher has his class disrupted by an unruly student who dislikes the teacher, calling him names to the student’s friends and making obscene gestures and gyrations behind the teacher’s back? The teacher is charged with felony child endangerment!
Scott Wendt is a committed, extremely popular junior high math teacher. He considers teaching children his calling (actually it is his second calling—he previously was a minister).
One day when the student had been particularly disruptive and disobedient, the teacher led him back to his seat, holding him by the forearm. The student claimed that the teacher’s action had resulted in him breaking a bone in his hand. The bone which was broken, the scaffoid bone, is a small one in the hand that almost always breaks only when one braces for a forward fall by extending the hand downward. Mr. Wendt asked Kirk McAllister to defend him. The investigation began immediately.
All the students in the class were interviewed. School records were obtained, with the authorization of the judge who was to hear the case. A P.E. teacher had a specific recollection of the student in P.E. class in the period following Mr. Wendt’s math class. The student fully participated in P.E., even doing push-ups!
Another former teacher of the student was found who had made extensive notes about the young man. She was troubled by his constant lying about others hitting him, and made her notes because she was afraid that he would lie about another student, or even a future teacher! She did not know Mr. Wendt.
Past students of Mr. Wendt were lined up to be character witnesses to his caring, peaceful nature. The assumption in the courthouse was that the District Attorney would offer a misdemeanor as a way for Mr. Wendt to avoid a felony. Mr. Wendt was adamant that he was not going to take a plea bargain—he knew he was innocent. Within the time prescribed by law, Mr. McAllister provided the prosecutor with the evidence that would be presented to the jury in his client’s defense.
The day before jury selection was to start, the District Attorney dismissed the case. Scott Wendt is now back in the classroom, following his passion—teaching the children.