Criminal charges may be lodged against a West Haven, Connecticut teacher after a video showed him using aggressive force with a student.
David Pfaff, a science teacher at Bailey Middle School, was seen snatching a chair from underneath one of his students, WFSB reports. Pfaff was employed at the school for just a few months before the incident took place. Another student recorded the confrontation on his phone, during which Pfaff asked the unidentified student to move several times. Instead of calling head administrators, Pfaff grabbed the chair with the student still sitting in it, causing him to hit the ground.
The aforementioned footage was sent to a parent and Pfaff was fired shortly after. No injuries were reported.
“As soon as we were notified last week of the incident in question, we immediately contacted the appropriate authorities and terminated the teacher. We cannot comment further as the investigation is ongoing and it’s also a personnel matter,” West Haven Superintendent Neil C. Cavallaro said in a statement on Monday.
“We escorted that teacher out off campus with other supervisors with others with the Board of Ed, the school resource officer and now the police department because of that video has begun a criminal investigation,” West Haven Police Sgt. David Tammaro said.
Pfaff shared his side of the story with NBC Connecticut. The former substitute teacher said the student was cursing at him, so he decided to use a method he’s seen teachers use in the past — move the chair and force the student to stand.
NBC Connecticut reports:
“I felt like calling security, getting the administration involved — the school administration involved — and having him sent to in-school suspension, or whatever discipline measure they said was necessary, I felt that was overkill,” Pfaff said. “I looked at him and I looked at the chair. I know you are not supposed to touch a student. You don’t do that,” Pfaff added. “I never meant for that to happen — never. I feel bad. I feel really, really bad about everything that has happened.”
“It’s kind of difficult to judge in the moment whether you’re going too far, whether or not you aren’t,” he continued. But, “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have taken the same course of action.”
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