A teacher hired to shape young minds at a local school is instead accused of putting one 10-year-old in a painful chokehold after a heated dodgeball game, according to a report.
Substitute gym teacher Daniel Sanabria denied putting the fifth-grade student in a chokehold, insisting he's "neither a criminal nor a child abuser," but police slapped him with several charges, including assault and harassment, The New York Post reported.
Sanabria, 58, was arrested Friday after the dodgeball game at Daniel Webster Elementary School in which he claimed the boy stayed in the game despite being ruled out. A detective said an argument ensued after the game, when the child's homeroom teacher came to escort the boy away to the principal's office, lohud.com reported.
Moments later, the teacher "pushes the student's head into a wall, then throws him onto the ground," a New Rochelle police spokesman told the Post. "He picks him up from the ground by wrapping his arm around his neck and body, causing the student substantial pain."
The spokesman added that the boy has marks on his arm from the altercation, but Sanabria contends he was just trying to protect the child, not hurt him.
"I turned around, and I warded him off with my hands," the teacher told the Post. "I grabbed his foot, secured him and gave him to the teacher in the hallway."
Sanabria's attorney, Peter Tilem, told lohud.com that his client's actions were "misconstrued," even saying that the teacher was actually trying to hug the child to calm him.
"Obviously, we're not going to be using him again," New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak told lohud.com.
Meanwhile, Sanabria awaits his first court appearance Tuesday, when he'll plead not guilty, his lawyer said.