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Jupiter Middle School teacher arrested for child abuse, battery

Police: Joey Santiago punched 17-year-old in nose, leaving him bloody
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Posted at 2:18 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 14:54:06-05

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A Jupiter Middle School teacher is under arrest for child abuse, battery, and burglary after police say he punched a 17-year-old in the nose and left him bloody.

According to an arrest report, Joey Santiago, 41, pulled out of a parking spot and "rapidly accelerated" through the parking lot at Mainstreet at Midtown, located in the 4600 block of PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens, just before 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Santiago, who was driving a black Jeep Grand Cherokee, almost collided with a 17-year-old boy driving a Mercedes Benz C230, police said.

The teen stopped and yelled to Santiago, "Why did you do that?"

The arrest report stated that Santiago began to yell and scream at the teen before driving away.

Moments later, the 17-year-old pulled into a parking spot next to Chipotle Mexican Grill. Police said Santiago pulled up behind the teen, blocking him in, then got out of his Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The teen said Santiago knocked on the window and began yelling, telling the 17-year-old that "he wanted to fight." The victim told Santiago he was a minor and wasn't getting out of the car.

According to police, the teen rolled down the window and Santiago reached in and punched the teen in the nose, leaving it bloody, swollen, and red.

Police said Santiago then ran back to his car and drove away.

One of the victim's friends got Santiago's license plate and called Palm Beach Gardens police, who eventually located Santiago's home address through a license plate search.

The 17-year-old was taken to the emergency room at JFK Medical Center, where X-rays determined the teen's nose was not broken.

Santiago is under arrest on charges of burglary with battery, child abuse with battery, and simple battery. He's being held without bond in the Palm Beach County Jail.

The School District of Palm Beach County confirmed that Santiago is a teacher at Jupiter Middle School, and the district is aware he was arrested.

WPTV asked for more information regarding his current employment status due to the arrest, and a district spokesperson said they are looking into it.

According to Jupiter Middle School's staff directory, Santiago teaches math.