Boy, 11, charged with battery on teacher

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A fifth-grader at Southside Estates Elementary School faces a felony battery charge after he was accused of grabbing a teacher's wrist last month while trying to take a piece of paper out of her hand.

Ma’Chi Harrison, 11, was arrested Wednesday and held overnight after police investigated an incident on Nov. 20. He was held overnight at the juvenile detention center.

According to the police report, Harrison refused to sit down in class and told his teacher, “I’m not scared of you," he wasn't afraid of her. He is accused of grabbing her wrist before leaving the classroom.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report, it was an assistant principal who called police.

Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the student received an out-of-school suspension and was referred to counseling. He doesn't think the student needed to be arrested.

“Even though the behavior was clearly unacceptable, there’s a better way for institutions' leaders to handle a situation like this to avoid an arrest," Vitti said. "I felt that we handled it through our code of conduct and through the school level and district level.”

The child's mother told The Florida Times-Union that she believes the arrest was in retaliation for some complaints she's lodged against teacher Pamela Riggs Stoia.

Stoia's attorney, Stephanie Schaap, said the teacher was treated twice for a sprained wrist and hand. 

The teacher said at the time that she didn't want to press charges. She only wanted to document the event.

Police noted that the mother had called police previously and reported her son was threatening her.

The boy was held overnight in juvenile detention.

“The State Attorney’s Office supported the arrest, which is troubling for me as school superintendent because, again, we are criminalizing actions that would normally be dealt with in the code of conduct," Vitti said.