Gym teacher arrested for 'briefly' strangling students with jump rope as punishment, police say

Elementary kids were 9 to 11 years old

A 64-year-old gym teacher is accused of disciplining his students by strangling them with a jump rope, leaving red marks on their necks and shoulders, according to police in California.

Peter Samhammer, a physical education teacher at Herndon Barstow Elementary in Fresno, was arrested Sept. 29 after Fresno County Sheriff's deputies were tipped off to his alleged behavior.

Fresno's KMPH-TV reported that Samhammer is accused of putting a jump rope around the necks of several kids and "briefly" tightening the rope before letting go. He was apparently doing it to punish the kids.

According to the Fresno Bee, several students from Samhammer's class — ages 9 to 11 years old — came home with marks on their necks and shoulders on Friday.

Samhammer faces four felony charges of child abuse, according to the newspaper.

The Central Unified School District released a statement saying "Student safety is a top priority" and that Samhammer has been placed on administrative leave.

Clint Davis is a reporter for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis. Keep up to date with the latest news by following @ScrippsNational on Twitter.

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