ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A classroom scuffle between a 9-year-old boy and a substitute teacher who then suffered a fatal heart attack will be handled as a misdemeanor assault case.

Juvenile Court Judge James J. Gallagher said Thursday the court would not pursue the more serious charge of manslaughter.

The boy is accused of punching Nedra Morris on Oct. 10 at Marshall Elementary School because he did not like an assignment she issued. Morris collapsed and died shortly afterward.

An autopsy showed that Morris, 51, unknowingly had severe heart disease. But the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, saying the boy's actions caused the heart attack.

Gallagher has several options, including detention. But the judge is expected to order counseling for the boy, who remains in the custody of juvenile authorities.

Claudia Collins, Morris' mother-in-law, agreed with the judge's decision.

``He needs to go to a place where he can learn to control his temper,'' Collins said. ``If he gets counseling and proper care, he'll probably turn out to be a nice boy.''