LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. – A teacher who was fired and charged after being seen on video grabbing a 17-year-old student by the neck is defending what he did.
Tim Garner, 61, told WSB that does not regret the attack, which can be seen in video footage that was released on Friday by the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office.
It happened last year at Lumpkin County Alternative School, which is a school for students who have gotten into trouble at other schools in the district.
"I was in fear of a head-butt or something like that or carrying something," Garner said.
Garner said it began after he asked the 17-year-old student to clean up the mess he made in the cafeteria. He said the student was a troubled teen with a violent past.
In the video, you can see the student and two others messing around with a styrofoam box passing it back and forth.
Then garner stands up and asks the other students to leave the cafeteria but when that 17-year-old tries to leave.
"He didn’t say anything until he put his hand on me and when he did that, I reacted,” the former teacher said. “He was right up on me and when he did that."
"The next thing I just wanted to control his hitting hand. He's right hand dominant and that’s all he hits with. I’ve never seen him throw a punch with his left hand."
The attorney for the student released a statement which reads, in part:
"Coach Garner's assertions that my client is a troubled and violent youth is absurd, as is the assertion that my client initiated any contact with him. The truth of the matter, as the video clearly shows, is that coach garner decided to subdue and choke a child for almost 50 seconds as a method of exercising discretionary discipline for a minor infraction in the lunchroom."