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ART TEACHER ACCUSED OF PUNCHING STUDENT

A report says the student at Central High called her vulgar names before she hit him.

A Central High School teacher was arrested Wednesday after authorities said she punched a student in the mouth who had called her obscene names.

Sandra Hadsock, 64, an art teacher, swung at the student two or three times in a hallway after the student had called her vulgar names, according to a Hernando County sheriff's arrest report. The student received a minor cut on his upper lip that did not require medical attention.

Other students pulled the student away from the teacher, according to the report. Hadsock maintains the student was coming at her as he was cursing and she acted in self-defense, said Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.

"She felt very threatened," Vitalo said Wednesday evening as he worked with a bail bondsman to get Hadsock out of jail. "She was fearful for her safety."

Vitalo said the incident was captured by a cell phone camera, not a school camera. He said he has known Hadsock for years and had her daughter in his class at one point.

"This is a very good person," he said.

Central principal Joe Clifford said he thinks he followed district policy after the incident but declined further comment, referring questions to superintendent Bryan Blavatt. He could not immediately be reached Wednesday evening.

Hadsock will be suspended with pay pending a district investigation, Vitalo said. Hadsock has worked with the district since 1988 and has a clean disciplinary record, he said.

Hadsock refused to cooperate with a deputy and did not wish to make a statement, the report states. She was arrested on a charge of child abuse without causing great bodily harm.

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