As is so often the case, a game of dodgeball erupted in violence at a New Rochelle elementary school on Friday when a substitute teacher got into a fight with a third-grader. The teacher, Daniel Sanabria, claims he was acting in self-defense, but police have charged him with third-degree assault and child endangerment. It seems that the incident was sparked after Sanabria (pictured in his mugshot), who was officiating the game, called the unidentified boy "out," and the child disputed the ruling. Sanabria tells the Post, "He wouldn't sit out when I asked him to."
So the boy's homeroom teacher was summoned to escort him to the principal's office. But police say that as the child was walking away, Sanabria called him a "crybaby." The student turned and tried to punch Sanabria, who then "grabbed the student, pushed him into a wall, threw him to the ground and put him into some sort of arm and headlock and lifted him up off the ground," according to New Rochelle Police Capt. Joseph Schaller. The boy's arm was bruised and he was taken to a local hospital for shortness of breath.
But Sanabria insists the 10-year-old jumped him, telling the Post, "As he was being walked away by his homeroom teacher . . . my back was away from him when he ran up to me; he started punching and kicking me. I turned around, and I warded him off with my hands. I grabbed his foot, secured him and gave him to the teacher in the hallway. I never choked a child. I acted to promote the welfare of both of us. This child needs help, and I don't think he's in a situation where he has the resources to get the help." Sanabria, who says he has scratch marks on his chest that prove his self-defense argument, will appear in court next week.