Tim Garner, 61, a teacher at Lumpkin County Alternative School, has been charged with "child cruelty and simple battery" after grabbing a student by the throat before throwing him down and dragging him along a table.
Though the conflict took place over a year ago, Lumpkin County has just released video of the incident, which show's Garner's extreme use of force against a child.
The entire incident was a result of the victim and two other students messing around with a styrofoam try before Garner asked them to leave the cafeteria. As the student was leaving the room, Garner told WSB-TV Atlanta that he felt he was in danger:
He didn't say anything until he put his hand on me and when he did that, I reacted. 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.
@RawStory JAIL! and there is no defending this— Beverly Klepac (@Beverly Klepac)1534183243.0
@Breaking911 If educators were able to have control over their instruction/duty areas to begin with situation like… https://t.co/zEgMWFQYtJ— PRESSon (@PRESSon)1534194776.0
Garner later said he believes his actions were justified:
"I was in fear of a head-butt or something like that or carrying something," Garner claimed.
"I don't know if you have children yourself, but when you look at that video, do you justify your actions?" reporter Michael Seiden asked.
"Absolutely," Garner replied.
The former teacher also said the victim was a troubled teen with a violent past.
@Breaking911 If you cant diffuse a situation with a teenager without having to put your hands on them then you shou… https://t.co/gOqUCfUTho— ShammTeego (@ShammTeego)1534194418.0
Tim Garner, 61 , says he has no regrets. He told us he acted in self defense and felt like he had no other choice . https://t.co/thjJAcxTdj— Michael Seiden (@Michael Seiden)1533955063.0
@RawStory NRA role model and perfect candidate to carry a gun to school. Yup!— VitaminC (@VitaminC)1534190316.0
Zack Tumlin, an attorney for the victim, issued a statement disputing Garner's claim that his client was a "troubled teen with a violent past:"
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. We expect Coach Garner to be held accountable and take responsibility for his lapse in judgment, and for the School District to do the right thing in settling the civil claims that will follow the criminal prosecution.
@MakeItPlain This guy has no place in any school!! It appears he may have some anger issues and not a stable person… https://t.co/aEWvJHlZPe— Mary Kirwan (@Mary Kirwan)1534186266.0
While Lumpkin County Alternative School is, indeed, "an alternative school for students who have gotten into trouble at other schools in the district," Garner was charged with multiple felonies in 2017 and no longer works at the school.
@MakeItPlain I would hope that no other school gave him a job. I wonder if he would regret being unemployed.— Ms. JW (@Ms. JW)1534196756.0
@RawStory You cannot be on top of someone, choking and beating them, while claiming "self defense." That's not how… https://t.co/qAc2fU7mzw— SeeingRedHead (@SeeingRedHead)1534185211.0
That's probably for the best. If you have no regrets for body-slammed a student, you might not have the right disposition for teaching.