Punta Gorda teacher’s aide arrested for child abuse

A teacher’s aide was arrested Thursday for abusing two children at the Baker Elementary Early Learning Center in Punta Gorda, according to police.

Anthony Del Priore, 63, was seen being physically abusive towards two four-year-old boys by a food delivery driver, Punta Gorda PD said.

The driver notified school staff who contacted police and the Department of Children and Families. The school promptly separated Del Priore from students, according to police.

Authorities conducted an investigation. Security footage from the cafeteria showed Del Priore forcefully kicking a chair from under one of the students, causing the child to hit his head on the table. Del Priore was then seen “forcefully” walking the student across the cafeteria by the arm.

Del Priore was seen striking another student with his hand twice and grabbing the student by the mouth, pulling his head backward.

Punta Gorda police say that neither student suffered any physical injuries.

The mother of one of the children says the school mishandled the situation after her four-year-old son was left with a bruised eye.

“They tried to make him lie to me — and when we got away from the school he told me the truth — he said ‘Mr. tony did that to me, he did that to my head,” Carissa Bess said.

Bess says she is now considering pulling her son from the school.

WINK News reached out to the school district for a comment, but we have not heard back.

Del Priore was taken to the Charlotte County jail.

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada