A Fresno, California physical education teacher has been arrested after several students alleged the man had strangled them with a jump rope as punishment.
Authorities received a report from Herndon Barstow Elementary School after several students were injured. While investigating the injuries, police learned that the school’s gym teacher, 64-year-old Peter Samhammer, had allegedly tied a jump rope around several students’ necks and proceeded to tighten the rope before releasing them.
According to Fox News, the victims, who were between the ages of 9 and 11-years-old, reportedly had red marks around their necks and shoulders from the rope. Samhammer was arrested and charged with four counts of felony child abuse.
CBS47 reports that this hasn’t been the first time students have accused the teacher of being needlessly cruel to them.
“One time I asked him ‘what are we going to do today?’” one of Samhammer’s former students told reporters, “And he said ‘I’m going to line you guys up and slap you guys in the face.'”
Another former student reported that Samhammer had forced her and other students to do pushups on hot cement and on a patch of grass full of thorns.
While the parents of both of Samhammer’s former students say they went to the school about the allegations and their concerns with Samhammer, the school reportedly did not follow up on the matter. The students believe that if their complaints had been investigated by the school the latest set of allegations against Samhammer could have been prevented if they turn out to be true.
“Mr. Samhammer is on official administrative leave. Student safety is a top priority for the district and as such, we are fully cooperating with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and will continue to do so throughout the course of its investigation,” according to an official statement from the Central Unified School District.”