TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 58-year-old teacher was arrested for allegedly assaulting an 11-year-old boy who was playing basketball near his home in New Port Richey on Tuesday.
According to an affidavit, multiple witnesses recorded video on their cellphones showing Donald Curtis Fawley, a science teacher at River Ridge Middle School, trying to pick a fight with the boy, and then assaulting him.
A Pasco Schools assistant superintendent said the district learned of the arrest late Tuesday evening. Fawley has been placed on administrative leave and has not had any contact with students since the incident.
The report said it all began when Fawley asked a group of minors to stop playing basketball near his home, telling them they weren’t wanted in the area. Deputies said the boy was bouncing a ball while Fawley was trying to talk to them, which irritated the teacher. He yelled “yo” at the child and told him to leave the area. Then they both started swearing at each other, deputies said.
The affidavit says Fawley pushed the boy, put his hand in his face and continued to swear at him.
Witnesses separated the two, but Fawley did not try to remove himself from the situation, deputies said. He reportedly put his hands around the boy’s neck and shoved him, then squared up as if he was getting ready to throw a punch, the affidavit said.
“The altercation ended when the victim informed the defendant he would be calling his mother,” the report stated.
Fawley’s attorney Matthew Kindel said he has reviewed some of the video evidence in this case.
“I can tell you that my client approached a group of juveniles to speak to them about leaving the area due to prior complaints from neighbors,” Kindel said in an email to 8 On Your Side. “The verbal encounter escalated and turned physical. At no time did Mr. Fawley injure or abuse the alleged minor victim. We believe this will become apparent as the investigation continues.”
Kindel said his client has entered a not guilty plea.
Fawley was booked into the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center on Tuesday. He was released Wednesday on a $5,000 bond.