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Teacher accused of choking 12-year-old student in dispute over school dance

PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- A Pennsylvania teacher faces charges of strangulation and harassment for allegedly choking a 12-year-old student, according to WNEP.

The incident reportedly happened earlier this month, and charges were filed Monday against Brian Fischer, a teacher at Solomon-Plains Educational Complex, part of the Wilkes-Barre Area School District.

Standing with his mother Crystal, Keyon Mutua told WNEP he had an argument with Fischer on February 9 inside the cafeteria at Solomon-Plains Educational Complex, shortly before he turned 13.

Court papers show Mutua had been suspended from school for using foul language and wasn't allowed to attend a dance later that night. He wanted to get back the $30 he paid for the dance, but Fischer wouldn't return the money.

“The first time I was like calmly asking him for my money and the second time, not the third time I asked him,” said Mutua. “I yelled at him, so he decided to lean forward and put his hands around my neck.”

Mutua says Fischer grabbed him by the neck with both hands, choking him for a few seconds.

“I was surprised he leaped at me like that for, like, just yelling at him,” said Mutua.

According to court papers, the principal and school resource officer had to separate Mutua and Fischer, who later said the middle schooler had "entered his space" and made the 57-year-old feel threatened, according to the Times Leader. Fischer claimed he only put his hands on the boys shoulders.

“They did call me the day of the incident, and what was explained to me was he had to use force for my son,” said Crystal Mutua. “So I found myself apologizing to him.”

But the school resource officer told the court the choking was caught on the school's security cameras.

He said the video showed that Mutua was not aggressive toward Fischer and that the teacher acted out, seemingly unprovoked.

“When I saw this video my stomach hurt, really, really bad, like really bad because that's a child. This is your role model. This is somebody they look up to. This is the person who is supposed to assist him going forward,” said Crystal.

Fischer is now charged with harassment and a misdemeanor charge of strangulation.

WNEP tried to reach him, but no one answered the door at his home in Mountain Top.

“You just took my son back five steps with trust of the system, with trust of the school system. I was hurt. I was really, really hurt,” said Crystal.

Brian Fischer is now suspended from his $86,000 teaching job without pay, according to the paper.

He has a court appearance set for April 3.