Former teacher pleads guilty in child abuse cases

David Baier pleaded guilty

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A former teacher at the Alternative Education Foundation will serve five years probation after pleading guilty in two child abuse cases on Monday.

As per the plea agreement, 50-year-old David Baier: must surrender his teaching license; cannot have unsupervised contact with unrelated children; cannot teach or volunteer with minors; cannot coach children's sports teams; must write a letter of apology within 30 days; cannot travel outside Broward County without permission; must complete 500 hours of community service and a 13 week anger management course; pay $125 per month to the victim for psychiatric therapy for ten months; and, have no contact with the victim and his family.

"Mr. Baier is able to avoid jail time in this matter and able to move on with his life," said his attorney, Steven Swickle.

Police said in surveillance video of a July 2012 incident, a 12-year-old boy with autism was taken to Baier's classroom as punishment after misbehaving on a field trip. The student was seen fidgeting, and Baier instructed the student to stand, then told the student he could get his chair back if he stood still for five minutes.

The boy then crouched and Baier told him to stand again, police said. The boy refused to get up, and Baier grabbed the boy by the hair on the top of his head and pulled him into a standing position.

After being told to sit, Baier and the boy began discussing his behavior on the field trip, police said. Baier was seen walking over in the video and threatening to throw the boy to the ground.

Baier then grabbed the boy by his hair, pulled him from the chair, threw him to the ground, and pinned him down, said police. Baier then told the boy to get back into his chair.

Police said the boy never appeared physical or violent despite his verbal outburst.

In court, the boy's mother said she agreed to the plea deal to protect other children.

"I hope that for the rest of his life, he is reminded every day of what he did, not only to my son, but to all the other children in the classroom," she said.

In a second case, Baier placed a child on the floor and somehow caused him physical harm, according to court documents.

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