Gibraltar teacher accused of assaulting student after doorbell prank

By Koco McAboy - Reporter, Dane Sager Kelly

GIBRALTAR, Mich. - A Shumate Middle School teacher has been placed on administrative leave and is facing an assault and battery charge after a student prank on May 15 in Gibraltar.

Multiple students were at a Dairy Queen getting ice cream when they decided they wanted to play a prank on their teacher, Steven Falwell, who lives only a few houses away from the Dairy Queen. The children decided to play ding dong ditch, a prank where in which someone rings a doorbell and flees before the resident can see who is at the door.

Police said the students did it twice and, during the second time, Falwell allegedly caught up with one of them, a 12-year-old boy, and assaulted him.

"It's just an unfortunate situation," said resident Dave Sucharski.

"I'm just surprised," said Lydia Westrick, a former student of Falwell's. "I went to school with him and he seemed like a nice teacher. I wouldn't had thought something like that would happen."

Police haven't released details of the alleged physical assault, but said the boy did not need medical attention afterward.

Falwell was arraigned on Monday.

Gibraltar School District Superintendent Amy Conway sent this message to Local 4 on Friday:

"The Gibraltar School District received information from the Gibraltar Police Department that an incident occurred between a Shumate Middle School staff member and a student off school property, outside of school hours. When the district was informed of these allegations, the staff member was immediately placed on administrative leave."

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