A Florida teacher made his first appearance in court Thursday, a day after he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery when the parents of a 14-year-old student complained the teacher physically removed their son from the classroom.
"I was infuriated. As a parent when you send your kid to school, you expect for them to get an education at a safe, sound environment -- and then I saw the video and that really took me over the edge," the student's father, Keiondrae Woodside, told Orlando's WESH-TV.
The alleged incident was caught on cell phone video taken by another student Tuesday. It shows teacher Jeffrey Paffumi pulling the student out of his seat while shouting, “Show me how tough you are, you want to call me a cracker,” before throwing the student out the door, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
A reporter from Orlando's WFTV-TV posted the video on Twitter:
The student told investigating officers the altercation took place after Paffumi, 47, repeatedly muted the music the student was playing on his computer during class, which led the boy to call him a “cracka” twice.
Paffumi said the student became disruptive, slapping his hand away when he tried to mute the computer.
“I then treated him like an unruly student and grabbed him safely so he couldn’t hurt himself or anybody else,” Paffumi told investigators.
He added he “pushed him to separate themselves in case (the student) was mad (so he) could not hit me," The News-Journal reported.
Woodside alleged that Paffumi traumatized his son "mentally and emotionally," WESH reported.
The alleged incident happened in an Exceptional Student Education-integrated classroom, which includes students with disabilities and special education needs, according to The News-Journal.
School administrators later told the boy’s parents about the alleged incident.
Paffumi, who teaches at Buddy Taylor Middle School in Palm Coast, Fla., is barred from seeing the student and is not allowed to use alcohol or drugs. It’s not clear if either factored into the alleged incident.
Paffuni has worked in the district since 2005 and is on paid administrative leave.
“We are currently investigating the classroom incident and will be handling this in accordance with School Board and union policies and procedures regarding employee conduct,” Flagler Schools spokesman Jason Wheeler said.
Paffumi was appointed a public defender and was released without bail Thursday.
“As a teacher, you have to control your temper even when students test you,” Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly said Wednesday in a written statement, according to The News-Journal. “This is an unfortunate incident involving a teacher and a student. My daughter is a school teacher and I know from her how misbehaved some students can be but as a teacher you must deal with it appropriately. Corporal punishment like the old days is not allowed today.”
His arraignment is scheduled for Feb.11.
Paffumi was previously arrested in the county for criminal mischief in 2012 when he became “aggressive” with his then-wife while intoxicated, The News-Journal reported.
He was arrested the same year in a separate incident for repeatedly punching a man in the face outside a bar. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and his criminal mischief charge was dismissed.