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St. Joseph – An art teacher who authorities say threw a chair in his southwestern Michigan classroom, hitting and injuring an 11-year-old student, has been sentenced to nine months of probation and 50 hours community service.

The Herald-Palladium reports 49-year-old Thomas Barnes pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor assault. Barnes told the court the class was “unruly” and he’d “never intentionally harm a student.” A 30-day jail sentence will be suspended if he successfully completes probation.

Barnes was fired from his job at Benton Harbor Charter School Academy this month. He initially was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony.

The girl’s mother said she took her to a hospital after school and she was diagnosed with a mild concussion. Two other school officials are charged with failing to report child abuse.

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