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Teen arrested in killing of teacher in classroom

Texas victim was stabbed in neck

Da’kia Allen, a ninth-grader at John Tyler High School, was hugged by her aunt Gwen Smith after students were released. Da’kia Allen, a ninth-grader at John Tyler High School, was hugged by her aunt Gwen Smith after students were released. (Jaime R. Carrero/ Tyler Morning Telegraph)
By John McFarland and Linda Stewart Ball
Associated Press / September 24, 2009

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TYLER, Texas - A special-education teacher who had a passion for music was fatally stabbed yesterday morning in a Texas high school classroom, and police took a 16-year-old student into custody.

Todd R. Henry, 50, worked with students at John Tyler High School who were either emotionally or behaviorally challenged, according to his older brother, Jody.

“He loved it,’’ the elder Henry said. “He had never been happier than when working with these kids.’’

Superintendent Randy Reid said the male assailant approached his teacher about 8:50 a.m. and stabbed him in the neck with a sharp object. A teacher’s aide and two other students were in the classroom, and the aide subdued the suspect before calling police, Reid said.

Reid said the student had been in and out of the district “a couple of times,’’ but declined to provide further details, citing privacy laws.

“It is our understanding at this time that there was nothing in the classroom that incited this situation,’’ Reid said.

The high school was locked down after the stabbing and students were sent home.

Jan Henry, the teacher’s wife of 10 months, said he had been injured before.

Todd Henry missed the first two weeks of school recovering from shoulder surgery after he broke up a fight at school last year, his wife said.

“He worked in a prison for 10 years. Do you think this man was afraid? Get real,’’ Jan Henry said in a telephone interview from her home. “We’d be eating out and a student would walk up and shake his hand. He’d look at me and smile and say, ‘That’s what it’s all about.’ ’’