Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Public safety

Tampa teacher charged with spitting on boy, slamming his head on desk

TAMPA — An Adams Middle School teacher faces a child abuse charge after police say he spit in a 12-year-old student's face and slammed the boy's head onto a desk.

Luis Rizo, 43, was arrested Tuesday night, about six hours after the incident his classroom at the school on North Boulevard, according to Tampa police.

According to an arrest report, Rizo became upset after the boy grew "disrespectful" while Rizo was teaching. Rizo approached the boy as he was sitting at his desk and spit in his face, the report states. The boy became upset and stood up to walk past Rizo, who continued yelling at the boy.

When the boy yelled back, Rizo grabbed him by the throat and slammed his head onto the desk, the report states. Rizo held the boy's head on the desk, refusing to let him up, then grabbed the boy's shirt and fingers, twisting them. He then pulled the boy's hand behind his back and "tossed" him out of the classroom, according to the report.

Rizo's actions resulted in a small bruise behind the boy's ears and minor swelling in his fingers, the report states.

Rizo was booked into the Hillsborough County jail and released Wednesday after posting $2,000 bail. He declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.

Rizo has been pulled from the classroom and will work in a non-student area, away from a school campus while the district investigates, school district spokeswoman Tanya Arja.

"We are taking this matter very seriously and are waiting for more information from the investigation," she said.

Rizo was hired in August 2015 and teaches sixth grade social studies, Arja said. He spent his first year at Eisenhower Middle School and started at Adams last year. He has not had any other disciplinary incidents on file with the district's Office of Professional Standards.

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

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