January 26, 2006

"Father Of The Year"?

That is what one Florida radio station has termed Dave F. Swafford, who walked into a classroom and punched out a teacher's aide who his daughter accuses of inappropriately touching her.

An angry father who marched into a classroom and punched a teacher's assistant in the face said Wednesday he was protecting his 15-year-old daughter, who had accused the man of inappropriately touching her.

Dave F. Swafford, 42, was charged with felony battery on a school employee after he hit the 35-year-old aide in front of a class full of students at Lakewood Ranch High School near Bradenton Tuesday morning, authorities said. He was also named ``Father of the Year'' by a local radio station for his actions.

``I'm not real proud of what I did,'' Swafford told The Associated Press Wednesday. ``You have to protect your children, and my daughter does not lie to me.''

It seems Mr. Swafford was unwilling to allow school procedures to be invoked and investigations to be made. He wanted action taken immediately because, after all, his daughter doesn't lie to him.

And that is why I think he is a sad and pathetic excuse for a parent (and for a man, for that matter). This is the situation that led to his assault.

Swafford, the part owner of an air conditioning company, said he came to the school to meet with officials about allegations made by his daughter and other female students about the assistant's inappropriate touching and conduct. When he saw that the man was not in the meeting, he asked his daughter to take him to the classroom.

``I wanted to know why the guy was in a classroom teaching after my daughter came forward,'' he said.

A verbal exchange became heated, and ``I lost control,'' he said. He spent about 10 hours in jail and got out later Tuesday after posting bond.

You see, he wanted the man to lose his job based solely on his daughter's say-so. No need to investigate, no need to find the facts -- take the word of a 15-year-old and a couple of her friends and just fire the guy. This guy is such a hot-head that he didn't even bother to wait for his meeting with the administration -- he had his daughter lead him down to the guy's room so he could assault him. After all, his daughter has spoken, and she doesn't lie to him.

You may ask why I am not taking a hard line against child abuse. Quite simply, it is because I am not sure that there is abuse here. What I am sure is that we have another case of a parent walking into a school and committing an act of violence against school personnel. That isn't acceptable.

And as for the accusation made, I'd rather wait for there to be some investigation before drawing a conclusion. After all, kids do lie to their parents, even about this sort of stuff

I watched a colleague suffer through such an accusation a few years ago. A decent, compassionate, dedicated man, he had a trio of girls who were doing poorly in his class accuse him of giving them lewd looks and groping them. It wasn't true -- they just wanted out of his class so they could get As instead of Bs. He was suspended from work, and had to go home and tell his pregnant wife about the accusation (it was a difficult pregnancy, and his wife lost the baby that week). Once cleared, he was still the subject of rumors -- even though one of the girls admitted that she had lied. Even today, four years later, there still lingers a hint of scandal around his name, and certain parents will insist that their children be assigned to other classes. It is certain that he will never be hired as an administrator in this or any other district, despite completing his certification requirements a few weeks after the accusation was made; I wonder if he could even get a teaching job outside of the district. After all, there will always be those who will remember the accusation and be certain that these girls didn't lie.

So I'll be honest here -- I hope Swafford ends up serving the maximum sentence for the felony he committed, regardless of the guilt of the guy accused by his daughter. No one should be able to walk into a school and assault an employee, no matter how righteous their cause is alleged to be.

UPDATE: O'Reilly says the school has tape of the accused in a different location at the time of the incident -- and daddy has a violent rap sheet.

This report makes it clear that the "Father of the Year" attacked a man who was falsely accused by his lying daughter.

It turns out the daughter made it all up, the Manatee School District says.

The parent of a Lakewood Ranch High School student punched a teaching assistant at the school Tuesday, and said he was justified because his daughter claimed the teacher had touched her inappropriately.

But the girl's entire story was made up, school officials said today, and now the father faces a felony battery charge that could bring prison time.

The girl, who had been in a school-suspension classroom at the high school, was apparently motivated by revenge, Superintendent Roger Dearing said.

The teacher assistant, Deon W. Mathis, had turned the girl in to the office after seeing her pour soda onto another student from the second floor of a school stairwell.

Dearing said the district has statements from several other students and footage from a school security camera that proves the teaching assistant did nothing wrong. Video tapes show Mathis wasn't even in the classroom at the time the girl claimed the sex harassment took place.

Dearing said the district would pursue criminal charges against the parent, Dave F. Swafford, who has been making national TV rounds justifying the violence. He was slated to appear on the O'Reilly Factor tonight.

Dearing called Mathis a respected and caring educator. He is expected to return to work Monday after being put on paid administrative leave.

Oh, and by the way -- daddy was still defending his daughter and accusing the teacher on national television (O'Reilly) after the evidence was released. here's hoping for a big-time libel award in addition to a long jail sentence.

MORE COMMENARY (including much that is misguided): Southchild, Unknown Professor, PC540, Attu, Opinion Bug, Just Iggy, Evil Overlord, Right Thinking from the Left Coast, Teacher Children Hell, It's All Greek To Me, The Political Teen

TRACKBACKS: Stop the ACLU, Wizbang, Samantha Burns, Gribbit, Conservative Cat, MacStansbury, RightWingNation,, PointFive, Adam's Blog, third world country, Bacon Bits, Stuck on Stupid, Real Ugly American, Liberal Wrong Wing, Uncooperative Blogger, Publius Rendevous, Bullwinkle, Voteswagon

» links with: Dad Punches Out Daughter’s Alleged Molester
» It's All Greek To Me links with: I would too !!

|| Greg, 07:20 PM || Permalink || Comments (10) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

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» links with: Dad Punches Out Daughter’s Alleged Molester, on January 26, 2006, 09:36 PM
Excerpt: Dave Swafford was jailed Tuesday for punching out his daughter’s teacher. She had made allegations of inappropriate contact against him: HeraldToday—Swafford, 42, was arrested Tuesday after he walked into a classroom and punched Mathis. Sw...

» It's All Greek To Me links with: I would too !!, on January 26, 2006, 10:46 PM

Father punches teacher's aide accused of molesting his daughter By MITCH STACY Associated Press Writer TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- An angry father who marched into a classroom and punched a teacher's assistant in the face said Wednesday he...

Comments on "Father Of The Year"?

Excellent post and excellent commentary.

I, myself, was dragged through litigation my freshman year of highschool because a girl's mother refused to believe her daughter
was a lying sl*t.

Long story short, we had 'gone out' in the past, and she had her eyes on an upper classman. When questioned about her & i kissing in private, she concocted a story about me flashing her, though she unexplicably came to my house the following weekend.

She lied to her parents, and her parents wanted to protect her 'honor.'

America is driven by gossip, rumors, and allegations. In fact, we're guilty until proven innocent, though that comment has been stated
numerous times.

I'd enjoy seeing harsh punishments (read: compensation) when some one's good name is destroyed by the selfish, life-altering commentss
of another.

|| Posted by Eric, January 27, 2006 04:55 AM ||

Thanks for the update. I'd have to agree with you on the "false accusation" front. The girl should get the book thrown at her.

...But I'm still sympathetic towards the dad.

|| Posted by The Unknown Professor, January 27, 2006 07:55 PM ||

No sympathy from me -- I've dealt with too many parents who tell me "my child doesn't lie" to hold him in anything other than contempt.

I had one last semester who accused me, two other teachers, an assistant principal and three students liars because her son denied taking a swing at the (female) assistant principal.Not even a videotape was enough to convince her -- "my boy says he was just waving his arm, not trying to hit her!"

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, January 27, 2006 08:31 PM ||

Great post! Hotheads suck, even if they are "protecting" their precious offspring.

|| Posted by Jeremy, January 28, 2006 10:35 AM ||

And I can respect WANTING to do this to someone you believed did something to your kid -- but one has to exercise a certain amount of restraint, especially prior to an investigation.

After all, I would want to kill a colleague who ever messed with one of my students, but i would like to believe that I would have the impulse control to NOT do it.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, January 28, 2006 12:05 PM ||

I teach. False allegations can ruin a career, your family, your life. The girl should be expelled and the father needs jail time and a huge civil suit to straighten him out.

|| Posted by DKW 86, January 29, 2006 12:23 AM ||

If I was falsely accused by an irate parent and told by a lawyer that I don't have a case against him, I would probably stoop to the irate parent's standards and take the law into my hands with that irate parent and the girl for slandering and defaming me.

|| Posted by Phoenix Guy, January 29, 2006 12:51 AM ||

My husband is a teacher and I've seen untrue accusations like this happen over the years. All it takes is one lying child, one parent with blinders on, and an administration that ASSumes the parent is always right to ruin a teacher's reputation and take away their livlihood. I've been debating with some idiots over at and they just don't get the fact that it's not okay for students or parents to assault school employees. What a crazy world we live in. God bless all you teachers. I wouldn't have your job for nuthin'.

|| Posted by Ntegrity, January 29, 2006 08:41 PM ||

Any parent who assaults me over a false accusation from a bratty child will have to learn to eat soft foods after I'm finished with the parent.

|| Posted by Phoenix Guy, January 31, 2006 12:32 AM ||

Many years ago a parent walked into my old junior high-- yes, I just betrayed my age-- and took off her work boot-- now I just betrayed where I lived-- and smacked a child in her daughter's class with it-- said child and her daughter were apparently "feudin'." She then turned and began to hand the boot to her daughter and ordered her to hit the other child too, but the teacher had recovered from her shock and intervened. So then the teacher got whacked with the boot by the mother. The teacher, BTW, was about 4'11" and was a former nun-- which was the parent's mistake, because she wasn't St. Teresa the Little Flower, she was more like Mother Teresa-- tough and scrappy.

But parent did get away, and school district did press charges. The traumatized students in the class-- including the offspring of crazy mom, who had, wisely, NO INTENTION of whacking anyone with a boot, took intense counseling to recover.

|| Posted by Ms Cornelius, February 3, 2006 08:16 AM ||
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