Candice Egan, St. Paul teacher assaulted by student, fired for speaking to media

Candice Egan, a substitute teacher in St. Paul Schools, found herself out of a job a week after she was assaulted in the classroom.

Candice Egan, a substitute teacher in St. Paul Schools, found herself out of a job a week after she was assaulted in the classroom.

Candice Egan, 63, was substituting in a seventh-grade class at the Creative Arts High School in St. Paul. That's where she was attacked by a student who was upset that Egan confiscated his cell phone.

The student stood up, cussed Egan out, shoved her several times into a wall, and repeatedly blocked her from using the classroom phone to call the principal's office. 

Eventually a female student ran to get help. A teaching assistant took the boy to the principal’s office.

Egan called her direct employer, Teachers on Call, about 20 minutes after the assault from the school nurse's office. She was referred to the HR department, and relayed what had happened to a representative. 

Creative Arts principal Carlondrea Hines didn’t reach out to her that day, Egan says. But before she left for home, she went to the office and asked the secretary if she should fill out any forms to record the assault. Hines popped her head out of her office and invited Egan to sit down. The two spoke for about 15 minutes, Egan says, with Hines taking detailed notes on how many times she had been pushed, and how many times she’d tried to call for help.

This happened on March 22. 

About noon the next day, Hines called Egan on the phone. Again, they talked about how she was feeling after the assault, and Egan asked what sort of follow-up would be done with the student. According to Egan, Hines told her that she wasn't at liberty to say because of privacy concerns.

Later, a man from the security and emergency department of St. Paul Schools reached out to Egan. The guard told her that he was reviewing security camera footage from March 22 in hopes of finding out what had happened. She told him that the assault occurred inside the classroom, where there were no cameras.

The security guard encouraged her to make a police report, Egan says, so that the incident would have a paper trail.

Egan took that advice and filed a report with St. Paul Police on March 24.

Mara Gottfried of the Pioneer Press was the first to cover Egan’s assault. Gottfried contacted Egan after looking through police reports. Her story was published Friday night, March 25, and was picked up by multiple Twin Cities news outlets.

But this week, when Egan tried to look up her upcoming substitute jobs, she discovered that she could no longer log into the employee portal. Turns out St. Paul Schools told Teachers on Call  that she was no longer welcome in the district. The district’s reason, according to a voicemail from Teachers on Call staffing director Caitlin Clark, was that St. Paul Schools were not informed of the assault.

“I don’t have any information from you as far as what happened and the school district seems kind of concerned that none of the staff there was involved as it was happening," Clark said.

Egan called Clark back. Clark explained that it was inappropriate of Egan to have spoken to the media before informing the school.

Egan can’t understand how that’s possible. "I feel that I was very conscientious to inform everyone involved," she says.

There was a classroom full of student witnesses to her assault, and principal Hines had interviewed her. A security guard had been assigned to investigate the episode. She’d made a report with St. Paul Police, and that investigation is ongoing. She had been treated by the school nurse, who gave her an injury report to fill out — Creative Arts also has a copy of that report.

Hines did not respond for comment.

Egan believes she was fired in retaliation for speaking publicly about her assault. She is currently weighing legal options, though she says she does not want to sue. She just wants her job back so she can earn a living.

“It really sucks to not have any income,” the teacher of 30 years says. “I’m really good at my job, and the schools where I sub a lot, I have handfuls of kids come up to me to give me hugs, and tell me they love me… I work really hard at connecting with kids, and trying to make a difference. I don’t want to go get a job at Target.”