Fresno-area elementary school P.E. teacher jailed in choking of students with jump rope

The suspect is a season employee with Central Unified

Peter Samhammer
Peter Samhammer

FRESNO, California (KSEE) — A P.E. teacher was arrested after the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said he choked students with a jump rope at Herndon Barstow Elementary.

Peter Samhammer, 64, of Clovis, was arrested on four felony counts of child abuse, the Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

On Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office received a report that students had suffered injuries during P.E. class at Herndon Barstow Elementary in Fresno.

Deputies responded to investigate and learned that Samhammer had used a jump rope to discipline several children while holding class out on the playground, the Sheriff’s Office said. Samhammer placed the jump rope around kids’ necks and tightened it briefly before letting go.

The Sheriff’s Office said the rope left red marks on the kids’ neck and shoulder areas. The victims are between 9 and 11 years old.

Central Unified School District released the following statement:

“Mr. Samhammer is on official administrative leave. Student safety is a top priority for the district and as such, we are fully cooperating with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and will continue to do so throughout the course of its investigation.”

Samhammer has worked as a seasonal employee with the district in the past, but is not currently an active employee.

Anyone with information should call Detective Jesse Gloria at (559) 600-8217 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867. Callers to Crime Stoppers will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

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