The incident occurred at Central High School in St. Petersburg when a red headed boy was standing at the door being confronted by Ms. Sandra Handsock. A student in the class used her cell phone to record what happened–or did not occur. Ms. Hadsock is seen standing at the door when she allegedly punched the boy in the face and was then arrested for violence against a child. According to prosecutor Brian Trehy, “you can’t tell if he actually provides contact, but it’s reasonable to believe that it could have happened.” In the video, Ms. Hadsock is heard saying, “step back right now” and then a voice is heard saying, “oh my God! he didn’t do anything. You can’t punch him in the face.” The boy is heard uttering vulgarities to the teacher and then says, “I didn’t touch her. You guys saw that. I didn’t touch her.”
I taught high school for ten years beginning at James Fenimore Junior HS in Harlem which then was an all boys school. Yes, I did use physical violence against a few students. One day, a boy said he was leaving my classroom and I told him he could not go. He walked toward the door, I grabbed him, held him up and then threw him across the room. He did not leave the class. Another time, I was taking a boy who was drunk and was my favorite student to the nurse when confronted by two of his friends. They tried to grab the boy from me, he broke loose and ran down the corridor pushing kids against the wall. I took the two boys by the neck, dragged them to the principal’s office and threw them across the room. The drunk boy was expelled and never again went back to school. I adored him and was furious the two boys ruined Tom’s life.
I taught a few thousand students in my life as a high school teacher. Yes, like Ms. Hadsock, there were a handful of times I HAD to use violence to prevent a child from hurting himself or others. In no case, just like with Ms. Handsock, did the use of force hurt the child, but it might have prevented further damage. A teacher’s first responsibility is to protect a student from doing injury to self or to others. In a handful of situations, this may result in using restraining force. If you don’t believe this, try teaching secondary school!