Teacher Calls for District to Rethink How It Deals With Special Needs Students After He Was Allegedly Attacked

Florida Teacher
Osceola County Schools

School staff told investigators that this student’s behavior had gotten increasingly violent, according to Yahoo!

A Florida teacher is calling on a school district to rethink how it deals with special needs students after he was attacked by a 19-year-old pupil earlier this year, according to reports.

Daniel Morris was allegedly attacked by an unnamed 19-year-old student with special needs on January 18, according to WESH.

Morris, an ESE Transition teacher at Tohopekaliga High School in Osceola County Schools, still hasn't returned to the classroom. He spoke out at a school board meeting Monday and told the district it needs to rethink how it handles students with special needs.

“I’m here to speak up so this doesn’t happen to someone else,” Morris said Monday at the school board meeting.

He said staffing levels, training and where violent students are placed are all things he wants to be changed. Otherwise, he said he's certain this will happen again, WESH reported.

A school board member acknowledged a staff shortage, according to WFTV9.

Morris said at the meeting he was terrified as a 6-foot, 5-inch-tall special needs student attacked him inside of his classroom, WFTV9 reported.

Following the school board meeting, Morris spoke to WESH and said, “There was a moment where I felt like I wasn't going home to my wife and two baby daughters.”

There is surveillance footage of the incident which was obtained by exclusively by Channel 9 in Florida.

Channel 9 reports that the video shows the hallway outside of Morris’ classroom and the teacher can be seen lying on the ground as the student repeatedly punches and kicks him.

“You can’t fight back. You can’t protect yourself,” Morris told Channel 9. “We’re not trained to handle violence and aggression, and it really shouldn’t be part of what we’re expected to do.”

During his interview with WESH, Morris said, "From what I can remember, I was pushed down immediately and then just took several blows to the head. Several punches to the head. Then the student jumped on my body with both feet."

Cops say the student attacked Morris after he asked him to stop socializing.

According to a police report, the 19-year-old is in the Florida Transition Program, due to an autism spectrum disorder, which means he is allowed to stay in school until age 22.

School staff told investigators that this student’s behavior had gotten increasingly violent, according to WFTV9.

Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Tohopekaliga High School for comment, who then directed us to the school board.

Debra Pace, the superintendent of School District of Osceola County, told Inside Edition Digital via email, “Thank you for your inquiry. The district has no comment at this time.”

Related Stories