Teacher's assault case ends in mistrial Oakland Mills teacher, guidance counselor involved in dispute

September 18, 1996|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

The trial of an Oakland Mills High School teacher accused of beating a guidance counselor ended in a mistrial last night after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Weal said he did not know whether Lamont Goode, head of the social studies department at the high school, would be tried again on assault and battery charges stemming from a dispute with Robert Arroyo, a guidance counselor, in May 1995.

Weal said he would consult with State's Attorney Marna McLendon about the case.

During the trial that began Monday, the prosecution alleged that Goode, who has worked at Oakland Mills for more than 20 years, beat Arroyo in Arroyo's office in a dispute about a student. Weal told the jurors in opening statements that Goode's repeated blows bloodied Arroyo's mouth and brought him to his knees.

To escape Goode, Arroyo crawled across the floor of his office, emerging into the hallway outside "half-crawling and half-standing," Weal said in opening statements.

"I just believe [Goode] lost it. He just flipped out," Weal said outside court.

But the defense maintained that Goode, an Ellicott City resident, simply acted in self-defense. When Goode came into Arroyo's office, Arroyo threw up his arms, causing Goode to fall backward and fracture his wrist, the defense argued.

"Mr. Goode, feeling attacked, hit him," said defense attorney James B. Kraft.

Weal said a policeman who came to the school testified in court that the office was not in disarray when he arrived.

Goode filed assault charges against Arroyo, but they were dismissed this spring, Weal said.

Speaking outside of court, Arroyo said the dispute between the two began after a student complained to him that she had been thrown out of Goode's class and told she could not return without a note from her mother.

Arroyo, who had worked at Oakland Mills for two years, said he told the girl to return to class because the matter should be handled by the assistant principal.

In court, Kraft said the teacher and guidance counselor had an appointment to discuss a student's case, but did not specify what the concerns were.

Goode is still employed at Oakland Mills and received a two-day suspension for the alleged fight. He worked both days without pay, Kraft said.

Arroyo is no longer at the school, Weal said.

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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