Exclusive: Channel 9 speaks with Osceola teacher assaulted by 19-year-old student

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Surveillance video captured inside an Osceola County school shows the moment when a teacher was attacked by a 19-year-old student.

The attack happened at Toho High School in January.

On Monday, Channel 9 spoke exclusively to the teacher who blamed staffing issues for what happened that day.

The teacher, Daniel Morris, told Channel 9 that he can’t bring himself to watch the video but wanted to speak out because he said violence against teachers is only getting worse.


The video shows the hallway outside of Morris’s special needs classroom. In the video, you can see Morris lying on the ground as the student repeatedly punches and kicks him.

“You can’t fight back. You can’t protect yourself,” Morris said. “We’re not trained to handle violence and aggression, and it really shouldn’t be part of what we’re expected to do.”

Morris said he wants to see changes that will better protect both students and teachers.

According to a police report, the student attacked Morris after he asked him to stop socializing. The report goes on to say the 19-year-old is in the Florida Transition Program, which means he is allowed to stay in school until age 22 due to an autism spectrum disorder.

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That student also attacked a different teacher and a paraprofessional before he was separated from Morris.

School staff told investigators that this student’s behavior had gotten increasingly violent.

“I think we had documentation for two years over and over asking for more help,” Morris said.

Morris said this student’s federally mandated learning plan required an aide for supervision, but countywide staffing shortages meant he didn’t have an aide that day and hadn’t had one all year.

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The district website shows there are currently 50 vacancies for paraprofessionals like the one this student needed.

Morris said it’s not just about staffing and that he wants the district to consider whether there should be alternative classroom settings for students who behave violently.

Channel 9 reached out to Osceola County schools multiple times over the last week for comment on this incident and has not heard back since our first request.

The district does plan to host a workshop about how to better handle special needs students, but Channel 9 has not heard about when that will take place.

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