updated 5/24/2006 6:46:18 AM ET 2006-05-24T10:46:18

A middle school teacher was arrested after police said he showed up at school drunk, asked one of his students to fetch cognac, then fondled a student and made a sexual remark to another.

The teacher, Sterling Johnson, was charged with misdemeanor assault and a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace. The school system will seek to have him fired, said Creg Williams, superintendent of public schools in St. Louis.

Johnson, 55, is an industrial arts teacher at the Pruitt Military Academy, a magnet school in the district.

After arriving at school Monday morning, police said Johnson asked a student to retrieve a bag containing a bottle of cognac from his car. Police then said Johnson rubbed the buttocks and thigh of a 13-year-old girl and directed a sexual remark at another 13-year-old girl.

The principal ordered the teacher, who has been teaching for 22 years, to leave after becoming aware of his behavior, police said. Johnson complied but returned a short time later and was arrested. Williams said a hidden bottle of liquor was found in Johnson's classroom.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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