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Clay County teacher arrested and released on bond for alleged child abuse

4:15 PM, Apr 9, 2013   |    comments
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42-year-old Oakleaf Junior High School teacher Michael Ford was arrested on a charge of child abuse for allegedly using physical force against a 13-year-old.

ORANGE PARK, Fla -- An Oakleaf Junior High School gym teacher was arrested on a charge of child abuse for allegedly using physical force against a 13-year-old.

The arrest warrant for P.E. teacher Michael Ford said the incident began because of a broken chair that the 13-year-old student said he did not break. The report said the victim walked away and that Ford allegedly threatened him and said quote 'if he saw any spray paint on his truck he was going to end up in the hospital.'

The report said the child then cursed at Ford and told him to shut up. That's when Ford allegedly grabbed the child, put him in a choke hold and shoved him against the railing of a portable classroom.

Harpreet Malhotra has a child at Oakleaf Jr. High and said her 6th grader told her about the incident, but she didn't believe it at first.  

"You know I thought, he's just exaggerating things because you know sometimes kids do that," said Malhotra.

Malhotra said she got goosebumps when her child told her. She said she is also a member of the Student Academic Council and is very involved in her child's school.

"He's an A grade student and he doesn't talk much so when he tells me these things and the reason I moved here is because this school has a good reputation," said Malhotra.

Ford has been a P.E. teacher with the Clay County School system since 2004. Before that, the Pasco County School District in Land O' Lakes, Florida confirm he was also a P.E. teacher there from 1999 to 2004, but left because of 'personal reasons.'

The police report said another staff member witnessed the abuse. The school principal and the Clay County School board do not want to comment on the incident.

Ford was suspended with pay pending the result of the investigation. He was released from jail on a $753 bond.

The Clay County School Board said last November Ford signed and received a letter of reprimand from the principal at Oakleaf Junior High for "inappropriate comments to students."

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