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VIDEO: Florida Art Teacher Punches Student in Face

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Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate

Uploaded on Jun 6, 2011

Dramatic video captured on a cellphone in a Florida classroom shows a teacher forcefully punching a student! So how did the educator escape facing any formal charges?

Teacher who punched student: ‘I had to defend myself’

School has placed veteran teacher on leave, but she hopes to get her job back

By Scott Stump

TODAY contributor
updated 6/6/2011 10:31:02 AM ET

A Florida teacher who faces an uncertain job future after being caught on video punching a student last month told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview Monday that she had no choice but to protect herself during the incident.

“I can’t say I regret what happened,’’ said Sandra Hadsock, 64. “I’m really sorry that I was put in a situation where that’s what I felt like I had to do. I had to defend myself from this violent person.’’

Part of the incident in question was caught on another student’s cellphone video camera last month at Central High School in Brooksville, Fla. The short, shaky clip shows the veteran art teacher punching a taller student, cutting his lip. What the clip doesn’t show, say Hadsock and other witnesses, is the student calling Hadsock vulgar names and backing her against a wall.

“The tape only captured a small portion of the whole incident,” which lasted about a minute, Hadsock told Lauer. “That’s the second time he comes at me. The first time, he made physical contact and it was pretty frightening.’’

The student has not been identified and has not made any public statement about the incident. Hadsock said she had not had any prior run-ins with that student but the situation quickly escalated.

Video: See video of incident, plus Hadsock on TODAY (on this page)

“He was clearly dangerous, but I had not had encounters like this before with him,’’ she said. “I was afraid because of the look in his face. It was very vicious and violent-looking, but I’ve been teaching all these years, [and] I never assumed that he would attack me. But he just came on and chest-bumped me.’’

Hadsock was taken to the principal’s office while the authorities were called. She was put in a police car, handcuffed, and taken to the local precinct to have a mug shot taken. She was initially charged with felony child abuse, but the charge was recently dropped when the state attorney’s office determined she had acted in self-defense.

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