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Teacher says he’s ‘overjoyed’ charges filed 33 days after attack at school

Substitute teacher “overjoyed” after attacker charged

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Rob Gooding on Tuesday celebrated after charges were filed against a student who he says assaulted him more than a month ago at Perry Meridian High School.

The 75-year-old substitute teacher says he was attacked Feb. 1 by a 16-year-old student while he was instructing a business class at the Perry Township Schools facility.

Gooding said Tuesday he was “overjoyed” that the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office filed felony charges of battery and criminal recklessness in juvenile court.

Gooding says it took 33 days for these charges to be filed and he felt snubbed that his case went unprioritized. “That’s the way I felt. That’s why I was kind of put out that they did not arrest him. He did not get charged. They released him. He was free from here to then.”

Gooding says he was told district higher-ups decided not to handcuff or arrest the 16-year-old student despite his desire to press charges.

“It’s a sad situation,” Gooding said. “I was told by the principal in the meeting that I had with him that the assistant superintendent was the students first and then the individual second, so that gave me a clue right there and then where I stood.”

As a septuagenarian, Gooding says, he was substitute teaching because he loved to be around other people but will never set foot in a classroom again after he was attacked.

“No. No classrooms. My wife has been wanting me to quit for a couple of years,” Gooding said. “Like I said, I’m 75. So with this, it kind of forced the issue.”

Gooding and his wife, Becky, expressed disappointment that the 16-year-old was charged in juvenile court instead of as an adult. “I think it should be in adult court because it is an adult crime,” he said.

Speaking to her husband, Becky Gooding added about the student, “He didn’t steal candy from the drugstore. He assaulted you.”

Gooding says he is unsure why the attack. He was disciplining another student for using her phone during class when he was attacked, and was not engaging with his attacker before it happened.

He said he will testify in court if the case goes to trial.