Cut from the Class: Teacher Suspended After Slamming Student’s Laptop

The situation turned black-and-blue after one student was caught red-handed slacking off in class.

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(UPDATED: APRIL 11, 2013) The situation turned black-and-blue after one student was caught red-handed slacking off in class.

Is this a case of assault or just a frustrated teacher? When a professor at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia slammed a student’s laptop, he was slapped with handcuffs and a criminal charge of battery.

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Dr. Frank Rybicki was teaching his law class at the college last week when he suspected a student of surfing around instead of paying attention to the lecture. When he shut the girl’s laptop – right on her fingers – the student went to police. University police arrested Rybicki, and once free on bail, he was removed from his teaching position at Valdosta State pending an investigation.

We’re not sure if it’s a case of bruised hands or simply a bruised ego on the student’s part, but Rybicki’s case took an extreme twist with his arrest. A Valdosta State spokeswoman says the professors have policies and procedures to follow as part of their employment but did not specify penalties. It seems unlikely that closing a laptop on one’s fingers would cause more than a cut or a scrape. That said, who’s ever received a flesh wound while Facebooking?

While students wait to see if Rybicki will return, many have rallied behind him, calling him “one of the best” professors and commenting that “it’s a disgrace that we’ll lose a great teacher.”

Rybicki was charged with injuring a student, but in court in August 2011 he was found not guilty. After eight students testified on his behalf — and only one offering support to the prosecution, the Georgia State Court jury acquitted him of the charge, allowing him to return to his teaching position. Rybicki has since moved on to a professorial position at Francis Marion University in South Carolina.

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This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Rybicki was acquitted of any wrongdoing in the case.