Darlington James Darlington James

A 19-year-old man attacked an Upper Darby High School teacher with a claw hammer after dismissal Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

Darlington James, of Upper Darby, sneaked into the school building just after the school day ended, wrestled with a female teacher and tried to steal her laptop, said Michael Chitwood, Upper Darby School District Superintendent.

“It’s tragic,” Chitwood said. “I mean, teachers are attacked everyday, but not in a violent, robbery attack. … unfortunately, they’re in there trying to do good and these bums that go in there are trying to raise hell.”

 

The female teacher, who was tidying up the room, heard a knock. Assuming the visitor was a student, she unlocked the door and addressed James, who was wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood up. James pushed the teacher inside and tried to close the door behind him.

A struggle ensued. James pulled the hammer from a rear pants pocket and swung multiple times in her direction.

James wrestled the teacher to the ground. He jumped up and grabbed the teacher’s Macbook computer off her desk and ran out of the room. She ran after him screaming, “Help! Help!”

Police apprehended James as he fled the school. Chitwood said James is believed to be involved in about six similar crimes where he sneaked into schools after dismissal.

Chitwood listed a number of plausible, equally awful outcomes: rape, torture, murder.

“But she was feisty,” he said. “She fought him and screamed for help and that’s apparently what drove him away.”

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