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Upper Darby Teen Held In Strongarm Robbery Of High School Teacher

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Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz, Oren Liebermann

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — An Upper Darby teen faces numerous charges for allegedly assaulting and robbing a teacher in a classroom yesterday at Upper Darby High School.

According to police superintendent Michael Chitwood, 19-year-old Darlington James walked into the school through a back door, then was let into a classroom by a 32-year-old female teacher after school had let out for the day.

James is accused of pushing her inside the room and swinging at her with a claw hammer.

“He then took her personal laptop computer and ran out of the room,” Chitwood said Wednesday. “She chased him, and while she was chasing him she was screaming for help. Two other male teachers got involved in the foot pursuit, and in the meantime someone had called 911.”

Police captured the suspect, who is not a student at the school, a few blocks away near Beverly Boulevard and say they found the laptop inside James’ backpack. Though terrified, the teacher was not seriously hurt.

Chitwood believes that James is responsible for a similar robbery at a middle school last month and think he may be responsible for a half-dozen similar thefts. He now faces numerous charges including robbery, assault, and burglary.

James’ aunt told Eyewitness News off camera he’s been living with her since his mother was stabbed to death three years ago.

Parents and students at the high school say security is normally tight, but they worry that an armed teen was able to get in.

“I want my son to be in a safe school. If my son’s not safe, that’s a concern,” said Steve Kitchens.

“Students like that leave all the time. They leave to skip class or go have a cigarette and anyone can come in , especially with weapons,” said Alexandra Ottaviano, a senior at the school

In another case concerning school safety, Upper Darby police say a 13-year-old eighth grader at Drexel Hill Middle School threatened to shoot up the school Tuesday afternoon.

“Just hearing this today I’m definitely going to have a conversation with my son tonight because if he doesn’t feel safe in school, I don’t feel safe sending him to school,” said Mark Hall.

Police say they didn’t find any guns in the teen’s home, but they found a steak knife in his backpack.

They say the student was getting ready for a fight at school.

The Upper Darby School District released a statement Wednesday that read in part:

We are proud that our parents, school district administrators, school district security, and Upper Darby police department all worked together in the best interest of the security of our schools and students.

The safety and security of our students always has been, and continues to be, the top priority of the Upper Darby School District.

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