FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. -- A local teacher is defending himself after allegations he choked a student.
Mike Ford is telling his side of the story for the first time after being terminated Thursday night. He was arrested last year after allegations of putting a student in a choke hold.
"This was a kid out of control," said Ford.
"He kicked the chair. He literally grabs the chair and throws it. ... That is aggressive behavior," said Ford.
Ford maintains he was using reasonable force to restrain the child.
"The whole thing has been a farce," said Ford.
The school board spent nearly an hour going back and forth on whether to terminate Ford. He was fired last year but appealed the termination. Board members got choked up trying to decide what to do. One suggested a lesser punishment.
But it was a 3-2 vote to fire the P.E. teacher and track coach, who was surrounded by supporters.
"It's career-ending and I've spent 20 years in this profession," said Ford.
Ford was originally suspended without pay last year. We also found out the child abuse charge was dismissed by the court after Ford went through court-ordered counseling.