Melbourne gym teacher faces charges after encouraging students to fight, police say

Paul Eller, 58, faces charges of child neglect, culpable negligence

Domestic violence call becomes officer-involved shooting in Melbourne, police say

MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Melbourne Police Department has filed charges with the state attorney’s office against a physical education teacher at Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School accused of encouraging students to fight.

Melbourne police said they were contacted about a fight on April 21 involving two students in the boy’s locker room during a gym class.

According to a news release, video shows a group of students watching the fight — along with the class’ teacher, Paul Eller, 58.

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One of the students was injured during the fight, causing it to stop, police said. However, police said that while some of the spectators were talking about the injury, Ellis “could be heard making a noise to encourage the participants to begin fighting again.”

After that, the two students continued fighting, and Eller only stepped in to break up the fight after a third student jumped into the fray, police said.

The department said it has filed with the state attorney’s office charges of neglect of a child, culpable negligence and disruption of school function.

The school announced earlier this month the teacher was under investigation for allowing students to fight on campus.

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Correction: initially reported Paul Eller was arrested, however, only charges were filed by police. We regret the error.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined in April 2022.