West Virginia High School Student Accused of Punching Assistant Principal

West Virginia
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An 18-year-old Preston High School student is facing a battery charge after deputies said he punched an assistant principal in the jaw.

Deputies with the Preston County Sheriff’s Department said that on January 11, they answered a dispatched call that stated a student at Preston High School had punched a staff member, and was being restrained by other members of the staff.

Deputies said that when they arrived on scene, they noticed the student, James Metz, 18, of Tunnelton, had a clenched fist, was visibly angry and was breathing hard. Deputies also said that Metz was being restained by five or six male staff members. Deputies then advised Metz to calm down and placed him in restraints. 

Preston County High School Principal Steve Plum told deputies that Metz had punched Assistant Principal Dave Murray in the jaw. Murray was then transported to the Preston Memorial Hospital by a personal vehicle. Hospital staff initially belived that Murray had a broken jaw as a result of the impact of Metz’s punch, according to a criminal complaint. Deputies said the Murray advised them that Metz had hit him in his chest and jaw.

Metz told deputies that the incident started when he was in the hallway with his girlfriend. According to deputies, Metz said he and his girlfriend were told to go to class. Deputies said Metz was then escorted to the front office by staff members, including Murray. Once the group entered the concourse, deputies said Metz told Murray to leave him alone. When deputies asked Metz what Murray was doing prior to the punch, Metz said Murray was was running his mouth, so he punched him.

Metz has been charged with malicious or unlawful battery, according to a criminal complaint.

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