Stefanie Sanabria, a former math teacher in Brookside Elementary School in Norwalk, Connecticut is potentially facing charges after putting a 5th grade student to sleep while attempting to display her Jiu-Jitsu knowledge and ‘demonstrate certain moves’. The incident was first reported in The Hour, and the teacher in question has since resigned from her post. A spokesperson for the local district, Emily Morgan, gave the following statement to the press:
“The safety of our students is our first concern, and we immediately investigated the situation involving Ms. Sanabria when it occurred.”
The incident in question occurred on the morning of February 24th, 2023 and according to a statement that the assistant principal gave to police, Sanabria told him that ‘since it was Friday, she wanted to do something fun with her math group.’ He then said that ‘Sanabria explained to the math group that she was considering offering martial arts classes after school and advised that she was trained in Jiu-Jitsu.’ Sanabria also told the assistant principal of the school that she demonstrated ‘a lack of judgement’ in that moment. The school resource officer also attempted to speak to Sanabria about the incident but was allegedly denied the ability to do so by the Teacher’s Union president, according to the warrant.
The warrant stated that Sanabria told the students who were being placed in the choke that if they felt some pressure then they should tap her elbow and she would release them. Two students were then placed in the choke, one aged 10 and one aged 11. She then placed a third student in the same choke and he allegedly ‘failed to tap her elbow.’
Students told the police that they saw foam coming out of the third student’s mouth and one child believed that he was having a seizure, according to information in the initial report. ‘He and several other students started crying at the sight of (the child) on the floor,’ the warrant read. Another student described the boy as ‘being unconscious for several seconds.’ According to the child who was actually put to sleep: ‘he wanted to go longer than the other students and everything went black.’
The extent of Sanabria’s training is as yet unconfirmed and it’s unclear where she trained, although sadly this isn’t the first instance of a BJJ practitioner hitting headlines for negative reasons. A warrant for Sanabria’s arrest was issued on 3rd March, 2023 for putting the student to sleep and police arrested the teacher at her home in Danbury. Her bond was set at $20,000 and she is scheduled to appear on 10th March, 2023 in state Superior Court in Stamford.