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Polk County sub gets jail time for attacking student

He'll also have to pay $968 in fines and surrender his teaching license.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
David Sierra

HAINES CITY, Fla — A substitute teacher accused of attacking one student and chasing another at Shelley S. Boone Middle School in Haines City was sentenced to jail time on Wednesday.

During a plea agreement hearing, a Polk County judge found David Sierra guilty of two counts of battery. 

The judge sentenced him to 30 days in Polk County Jail with work release and one year of probation. 

Sierra will also have to pay $968 in fines and surrender his teaching license.  

He was a provisional substitute at Boone Middle, where he was hired to work with students who have special needs. 

On March 3, Sierra was working in an inclusion class that combines students who have special needs with students who don’t.  

One of the students in that classroom, Adrian Morales, told 10 Investigates in May that Sierra became upset that he wasn’t doing his classwork. 

“He had got closer up into my face and started yelling. He started calling me a punk. He called me the B-word, like, a couple times. And the P-word,” Adrian told 10 Investigates.

“He had grabbed me by my shirt and he was holding my shirt. So, I had pushed him off me. That’s when he had came, he swung at me, he hit me in my face. Then he hit me again,” said Adrian. “He had kneed me in my face.”  

Sierra told police he “restrained” Adrian. He never mentioned hitting him. 

Both Adrian’s teacher and a classmate told police they saw Sierra repeatedly knee Adrian in the face. 

Adrian’s friend told police he stepped in to try to separate them. 

“I was like, ‘Why are you pushing me for?’ Then he started, he came after me. So, I just – just punch him in his face. Like, and then he started chasing me out the classroom,” Adrian’s classmate told police in a recorded interview. 

Haines City Police released surveillance video that they say shows Sierra chasing that classmate across campus. 

“So, at this point, I thought, he’s a threat to every kid on campus,” Adrian’s teacher said in a recorded interview with police. 

10 Investigates reported in May that Sierra had a history of complaints reporting aggressive behavior. 

He had also been fired from a previous substitute teaching job. 

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