Florida teacher cleared after 'chokehold' allegations

Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 14:30:14-05

(WESH, NBC NEWSCHANNEL) Florida prosecutors have dropped charges against a Lyman High School teacher who was arrested after surveillance video captured him putting a 15-year-old student in a headlock and dragging him down a flight of stairs.

Wilbert DelaCruz, 38, was arrested last month on a charge of child abuse.

Prosecutors say their investigation reveals the confrontation started when DelaCruz went after the boy who refused to stop running in the hall and shouted expletives at the teacher. The two ended up struggling in a stairwell.

The arrest affidavit had referred to DelaCruz using a "chokehold" but an assistant state attorney simply says the teacher had "his arm around the student's shoulders." The prosecutor also say DelaCruz dragged the student down the stairs because the student went limp in an attempt to resist going to the principal’s office.

The state attorney's office says the student did not suffer injuries and "..while there were concerning marks on the child, the act of a teacher physically disciplining a student is not per se child abuse.." 

The school district continues its own investigation of the incident and says DelaCruz remains on leave with pay.

Read more: