Math Teacher Arrested For Putting Student In Chokehold

Stefanie Sanabria, teacher who choked her student

A former math coach at Brookside Elementary School in Connecticut was arrested after demonstrating a chokehold to a fifth-grade class, resulting in a student passing out.

Stefanie Sanabria, 50, was charged with second-degree strangulation, first-degree reckless endangerment, and risk of injury to a minor. She has since resigned from her position at the school.

According to the arrest warrant, Sanabria told the assistant principal that she wanted to do something fun with her math group, and so she demonstrated a chokehold to the class, which she claimed was part of her Jiu-Jitsu training. When a few students offered to participate, Sanabria instructed them to tap her elbow if they felt any pressure, and she would release them. Two students, ages 10 and 11, were placed in the hold, and one of them passed out.

The incident occurred on February 24, and Sanabria was arrested last week at her Danbury home after a warrant was issued. School officials immediately investigated the situation and notified the child’s mother, who was recommended to take her son to the hospital for evaluation. The incident was also reported to the state Department of Children and Families.

Sanabria was hired as a math coach in August 2021, according to a statement from the district. In this position, she provided instruction on math strategies and curriculum to teachers at Brookside. Candidates for the position were required to have a master’s degree, a license to teach in Connecticut, and five years of experience as a math coach.

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