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Fla. Substitute Teacher Suspended for Punching 2nd-Grade Students

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"He became upset and angry."

When a Sarasota substitute teacher couldn't get a piece of classroom equipment to work, he took his frustration and rage out on three second-graders trying to help him. According to the Sarasota County sheriff's office, the teacher swore, pushed and punched the children, causing one to vomit in the classroom and one to seek treatment at the hospital for chest pain.

William Amory, 55, was arrested Friday and charged with three counts of child abuse for "inflicting physical and mental injury" to the children.

The Herald-Tribune reports:

"Students tried to help the defendant, but he became upset and angry," a detective wrote in Amory's arrest report.

Amory then threw the device's remote control, yelled and cursed at the students, then punched two students and pushed a third. Two of the students, who were not named, are 8 years old and one is 7 years old.

The students told their regular teacher the next day, who then notified the principal, who reported the incident to the state Department of Children and Families and to the Sheriff's Office.

The school district has since suspended Amory from teaching.  The substitute has had two previous, non-violent complaints filed against in 2003 and 2009.  In one incident Amory cursed at students and in another, the principal at Sarasota Middle School demanded he be transferred after reading the Bible in class rather than teaching.

According to the Tampa Bay Online, Amory blamed an out-of-control class for his aggression during a court appearance Friday.

"Mr. Amory disputes these allegations," said Amory's attorney, Derek Byrd, during the court proceedings.

Byrd said Amory "lost a little bit of control of the class."

Byrd blames what happened on the difficult job substitute teachers have combined with a batch of unruly students.

"He (Amory) doesn't deny putting his hands on a child, not in the sense of punching a child, but in the sense of maintaining order with an open hand trying to keep one child away from the other," Byrd said.

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