Brooksville, Florida - The state attorney's office in Citrus County has dropped a child abuse charge against a Brooksville teacher for punching a student in the face.
Sandra Hadsock, 64, spoke exclusively to 10 News. She says 22 years in the classroom never prepared her for the altercation that happened with a student in her classroom.
"Over the years, there've been kids rude and disrespectful and I've dealt with it. But this was a unique incident," says Hadsock.
Three weeks ago, a male student reportedly assaulted Hadsock verbally, calling her vulgar names as he approached her at the front of the class.
Another student's cell phone video captured what happened next.
"Step back right now! I told you to step back," Hadsock is heard warning the student as she backs into a door.
Hadsock is seen throwing two punches, hitting the boy in the mouth and cutting his lip.
A female student shouts out, "Oh, my God, he didn't do anything! You can't punch him in the face!"
Hadsock's responds, "He pushed into me!"
The male student responds, "I didn't touch her. You guys saw that, right? I didn't touch her."
Hadsock spoke to 10 News with the teachers union president, Joe Vitalo, by her side. She's unable to give details about that day because of a pending investigation by the school district.
"When you have someone coming at you, do you ask yourself, 'Do I take it? Do I wind up in the hospital?'" says Vitalo. "Nowhere it states you surrender your safety. When you look at this video, you'll see a teacher up against a door, you'll see a student coming at her."
When asked if Hadsock acted in self defense, Vitalo's response is, "That's what the state attorney ruled it as."
The state attorney has cleared Hadsock of any criminal charges of child abuse.
"It was terrifying. I was so afraid. I had no idea, but I felt confident," says Hadsock about the state attorney's decision.
Hernando School District officials will now conduct their own investigation. Hadsock may face disciplinary action. She may even lose her job.
"What takes place in the criminal court system doesn't necessarily have an impact on what we are doing as for our investigation," says Hernando School District Superintendent Bryan Blavatt.
Blavatt says the district's investigation will focus on whether Hadsock violated board policies or procedures. The state will also review the case. Vitalo says it could take four months before Hadsock will know if she can teach again.
Meanwhile, Hadsock is on extended leave.
She hopes she'll return classroom D-102 at Central High, the room she's taught in since the school opened 21 year ago.
Hadsock says she has one wish: "That I'm exonerated and I am back in my classroom with my kids I love so much. Teaching is so much of who I am."
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