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An Indiana teacher granted early retirement after hitting a student in the face is charged with battery

By Jennifer Henderson, Amy Simonson and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

A now-retired Indiana high school teacher who was arrested after video showed him hitting a student during a confrontation over wearing a hooded sweatshirt on school grounds was charged Friday with battery, according to court documents.

Security footage obtained by CNN shows the incident on February 25 at Jimtown High School in Elkhart, Indiana.

In the video, teacher Michael Hosinski jogs down a hallway at the school, appearing to chase after a student and grabs the student by the backpack. Hosinski, 61, points his finger at the student and then hits the student in the face, knocking the student’s head into the wall.

As the student holds their head with one hand, Hosinski grabs the student by the arm and begins to pull the student down the hallway before the student falls to the ground. At that point, another adult appears in the video, and Hosinski walks away from the student.

A judge on Friday determined there was probable cause to charge Hosinski with causing moderate injury, a Level 6 felony, the court document shows.

Hosinski was arrested Thursday after a police investigation, authorities said, and he was released the same day on $1,500 bond, according to the document.

CNN was not able to determine if Hosinski has legal representation and could not reach him for comment.

Hosinski, a 40-year teaching veteran who a school social media post named its Teacher of the Year for 2020, had planned to retire as a World Civilization and Sociology teacher in June, according to school board meeting minutes from January.

Less than two hours after Hosinski hit the student on February 25, he requested that the Baugo Community School Board grant him early retirement, Superintendent Byron Sanders said in a letter to families on Sunday.

On February 28, the school board unanimously approved the early retirement request. Hosinski will receive all usual retirement benefits, a source familiar with board policies told CNN.

Student suffered bloody nose and lip, document shows

The altercation began after Hosinski confronted the student about wearing a hooded sweatshirt to class, Sanders said in a February 25 news release. Hoods are not allowed in school except on special days, the school’s handbook shows.

From there, a verbal exchange ensued, and Hosinski slapped the student in the face and the student’s head hit the wall, causing “visible injuries,” Sanders said.

Principal Timothy Pletcher reported to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office that “a teacher at the high school had battered a student, which resulted in injury,” the court document states.

The police officer called to the scene saw an abrasion and a lump on the student’s head, the document shows.

The student told the officer that Hosinski instructed him to leave the classroom. After he left, the student said Hosinski followed him down the hallway, grabbed his backpack and hit him across his face, “which caused his head to hit the brick wall of the hallway,” the court document states.

The student told the officer he felt a throbbing pain in his head and had a bloody nose and bloody lip, the document states.

Medical staff treated the student immediately, and administrators contacted the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office and the Indiana Department of Child Services, according to Sanders’ release.

Brian Heinemann, deputy director of communications for the Indiana Department of Child Services, told CNN in an email, “Unfortunately, Indiana confidentiality laws prohibit us from commenting on DCS involvement, even to confirm or deny an investigation.”

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CNN’s Cara Lynn Clarkson contributed to this report.

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