Elementary School Principal Caught On Video Apparently Beating Special Needs Student

[Screenshot/YouTube/WPLG Local 10]

Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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A Florida principal was arrested Saturday after surveillance footage allegedly showed him abusing a special needs child, the local sheriff’s office said.

Dontay Prophet, a principal at the Destiny Leadership Academy in Ocala, was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment of a child under the age of 13, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities responded to a call regarding a “physical disturbance between a student and the principal” that occurred Friday, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. Deputies obtained video of the incident that reportedly showed Prophet refusing to let the student leave a classroom for nearly an hour, the release noted.

“Surveillance footage captured him grabbing the victim, restraining him on the ground, and employing a chokehold,” the press release stated. “Prophet can be seen on camera using a charging cable to strike the child, causing the child to fall and sustain injuries.”

The 33-year-old also allegedly twisted the child’s ankle during the altercation and slapped him in the face, the sheriff’s office said. (RELATED: Mom Says It Took 20 Days To Find Out Teacher Was Under Investigation For Allegedly Abusing Her Special Needs Son).

“Upon questioning by Deputy Bailey, Prophet claimed the altercation was an attempt to prevent harm to the child. However, the evidence clearly contradicted this assertion,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

Prophet was arrested and is being held without bond, authorities noted. Body camera footage from his arrest reveals that Prophet was aware there was a security camera in the room where the incident took place.

He has since been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation remains ongoing, Local10 News reported.

Prophet was previously arrested in 2019 after allegedly inviting a boy to his home and touching him inappropriately, according to Local10. At the time of this incident, Prophet was a camp counselor, the outlet noted.

The charges in that incident were dropped, Local10 reported.

It’s unclear whether the school was aware of the prior incident, the sheriff’s office told the outlet.