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TMS Teacher Facing Charges After 'Altercation' With Student

Tolland teacher Steven Tozier has been charged after allegedly placing a 13-year-old male student in a headlock during school on June 7.

gym teacher Steven Tozier has been charged with second-degree breach of peace and second-degree reckless endangerment after allegedly putting a 13-year-old male student in a headlock, according to a Rockville Superior Court affidavit. 

In the affidavit, the student, described as "victim 1," said that Tozier grabbed him by the shirt as he was climbing the stairs to go to gym class on June 7.

The victim said, "Once we got to the top of the stairs, Mr. Tozier was directly behind me, and I was facing the wall with my left side. Mr. Tozier came up to me, put his right arm around my throat area and put me into a headlock. While doing so, my left side of my head above my ear struck the wall. Mr. Tozier had me in a headlock and I was trying to get out of it. Mr. Tozier did not squeeze while I was in the headlock, but it was tight enough to where I could feel the pressure on my neck."

A number of other students and another staff member were also on the stairs during the incident, according to the affidavit. Other students confirmed that Tozier grabbed the student and that the student's head made contact with the wall.

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Principal Walter Willett spoke to Tozier and a union representative about the incident, according to the affidavit. During that meeting, Tozier said that he did put his arm around the student's shoulder, but that it was in jest and that the students were "goosing" and "tapping" him on the arm while they were on the stairs, according to the affidavit.

Tozier added that he and the victim have exchanged high fives in the past, according to the affidavit.

Fellow teacher Hannah Thibodeau said that she saw Tozier "messing with a kid" and that she believed she saw the student laughing. 

The incident was reported to school officials when the victim went to lunch and asked secretary Debbie Misiura what would happen to a staff member if he or she put a student in a headlock, the affidavit said. Misiura then brought the student to speak to Willett. 

According to the nurse's report in the affidavit, there was no bruising or redness on the student, with the exception of a half-inch reddened mark on the right side of his neck, below his earlobe. 

When asked if Tozier had been placed on administrative leave, Superintendent William Guzman had no comment.

Tozier was previously released from coaching duties in 2010 after parents alleged that .

Tozier is due in Rockville Superior Court for an arraignment on Aug. 8, according to the state judicial website.

LaFrance July 23, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I am saddened to hear that Mr Tozier is again the focus of a witch hunt. The THS students that I know - who are non-athletic - all say he's a great guy who always sticks up for kids who the others bully. We hope these charges are dismissed before any more damage is done to his career.
Resident July 24, 2012 at 01:18 AM
A witch hunt?! I bet you would think differently if this was YOUR kid. The only person who has damaged Mr. Tozier's career is MR. TOZIER!!
Resident July 24, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Shame on the Tolland Board of Education and Bill Guzman for letting this guy continue to be employed in the school system after what he has done over the last several years to many kids. Sending him to TMS to pick on younger kids after he was fired? are you kidding? Is Birch Grove next? NOBODY, especially a teacher, should ever lay a hand on someone elses kid!! Do we wait for a child to get seriously hurt before we remove the danger? It is the Boards responsibility to provide a safe environment for those kids in Tolland and they are not doing that!
Resident July 24, 2012 at 03:42 AM
I am deeply saddened that this has happened to Tozier, he is a great teacher and I have never seen him set hands on a student out of anger only messing around/ joking around and definitely not harming them. They would always laugh about it and they would always be giving him high fives and saying what a great teacher he was. And doesn't everyone think that if kids have been having an issue with him they would've said something about it. I know that most of the students had and have positive things about Tozier. And I know victim one and this shouldn't have even happened, and they didn't want this to happen.
Tolland Resident July 24, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I struggle to understand why there appears to be a migration path from THS to TMS for professional educators that have documented issues working with students. It seems counter intuitive to place these professionals with younger children. Given the current environement teachers shouldn't be putting their hands on students "playing around" period.
Resident July 24, 2012 at 05:44 PM
As you alluded to, Tozier was sent to the middle school after getting in trouble at the high school. Sound familiar? Mike Cardin was kicked out of the high school and was sent to the middle school where he continued his lewd behavior until being caught again.
Resident July 24, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Obviously the children love a casual teacher whom them may communicate to on an equal level, and as some may argue, not all adults who work at the school are easy to talk to on a personal level. Although its inappropriate to joke around when someone may be injured, everyone should leave the situation alone now. It's over and there's no need to carry it on. The children have seemed saddened by it and have stopped talking about it, so maybe we should take this sign and just stop now, as the mature adults we are. I know a lot of the children were saddened and confused when Mr. Tozier was not there the last month or so of school. And ponder this question, my child has brought to my attention that a specific teacher was being unfair to a cognitively impaired child quite some time ago and this being a more serious matter in my opinion still has not been taken care of, but an accidental situation with a child barely scathed, has a man fired while the rights of all children have not been equals addresses. So my question is should an accidental situation, described by te witnesses, be taken more seriously than unfair treatment by teachers to the cognitively impaired that hasn't been taken care of yet and probably never will be.
Resident July 24, 2012 at 06:45 PM
I agree that children being treated unfairly who are impaired is bad too - maybe somebody needs to investigate that as well. Very good article in the JI tonight where it states there was an investigation done becuase of several incidents over several years. Guzman is aware of this, BOE was aware of this - why is he still there. There are plenty of other jobs in the world Mr. Tozier can do instead of teach. We don't need teachers like him or the others ones you refer to in your post. There are also some great teachers out there willing to work and NOT put their hands on Tolland's students.
Resident July 25, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Growing up in Tolland and going through the schools I will tell you right now that there is no way that Mr. Tozier would ever purposely hurt one of the students. He was one of the best teachers out there. He was very casual and was one of the teachers you could actually talk and he would never judge you. People are taking these actions way too seriously if you actually got to know him on a personal level like all of the students got to, then there would be no issue here. "Toz" as all the students know him is a kind hearted teacher and parents wouldn't know that becuase they are not involved in their children's lives anymore! If you would sit down and talk to your children about him I guarentee you they would have absolutely NOTHING bad to say about him. And as for comparing him to Cardin, are you crazy! If you are from Tolland you know how he was and being a former student he was a creep! Tozier doesn't even fit in the same catagory as Cardin does, nor is it relevant to any of these accusations. Think twice before you act on what you hear or see people.
Megan Bard (Editor) July 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Hi folks, Thanks for the participation in this conversation. A couple things to remember, this is a community forum and you are required to comply with the Patch terms of use. You are not allowed to post unfounded accusations or messages that are considered as threatening toward others. If you have any questions or concerns you are welcome to contact me at megan.bard@patch.com. Best, Megan
Scott Cady August 10, 2012 at 02:34 AM
The school board headed by William Guzman in my opinion tried to sweep the first incident under the carpet and today appears to be doing the same thing even though it was reported in the Journal Inquirer by the schools own investigator Ann F. Bird that she found in 2010 that Tozier had committed “a serious violation of the districts policies, rules and regulations. Birds report also went on to read that Tozier was involved in “at least three incidents of improper physical contact with students apparently associated with anger,” and “while none of the incidents resulted in physical injuries each incident was serious and likely precipitated by anger.” In Tolland schools there is a zero-tolerance policy on child on child bullying. Do we not have the same rules for teachers, administrators and coaches? We have many wonderfully qualified and emotionally stable teachers and coaches in our town. But we have one that has to go! Do we really have room for politicians who turn the other cheek when the issue of the safety and well-being of our prized children is at stake? This time Tolland Board of Education and specifically Mr. Guzman is responsible for this rogue “educators” actions based on your blatant failure in leadership and character 2 years ago.
John Doe August 10, 2012 at 11:52 AM
I suspect Mr Cady does not have all the facts related to this non incident incident. He and others should make an effort to investigate the entire event before coming to conclusions. Mr Tozier is a well respected teacher and has had a positive affect on many of his students. Please hold judgements untill all the facts are in place, a teacher'futute is at stake.
Tolland Resident August 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Why is there renewed interest in this unfortunate incident?
Resident August 10, 2012 at 02:00 PM
I believe Mr. Cady is reading what is in the paper and in the police report. I don't think the state police think it was a non incident. If they didn't have all the facts - then why would they arrest him? Putting a child in a head lock is a problem. Lets have him put your kid in a head lock and see how you feel then.
Resident August 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I am very involved in my children's lives and talk to my children who have zero respect for that teacher!
Tolland Resident August 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM
There is renewed interest because 11, 12, and 13 year old children are afraid of this 38 year old man who is still a teacher at the middle school. It couldn't be a better time to elect new Board of Ed. members.
Marisa Taft August 19, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I know Mr. Tozier and he's always having a good time making kids laugh, he'd never hurt anyone intentionally. Whoever reported him obviously took it way out of proportion. He's a great teacher and I know that he would never do that to hurt anyone. He is always messing around with students to make them laugh if they look like they need a smile on their face. That is so ridiculous, I just graduated Middle School and saw Mr. Tozier everyday.
Sarah August 19, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I 100% agree with Mr. Grospitch. I was a student of Toziers for four years consecutively at THS before I graduated in 2010. Tozier was one of the most fair and understanding instructors at THS. Out of my four years at Tolland High School, Tozier was my favorite instructor because he DID have fun with his students and play around. I'm sorry but this whole situation....including the first allegation...is completely bogus and should not be brought any further. If the Tolland Board of Education or whomever is following through with this "case" really wants to know how Tozier is as an instructor, they should ask the children, not the overprotective parents that were not there in the first place to point any fingers.
Sick of it August 21, 2012 at 08:33 PM
First off, the high school incident was a crock of bull. That story was based on word from a student who has a credibility gap. This story shows that there were many witnesses that didn't seem to think that this was a case of abuse by any stretch. What we are seeing here is a witchunt, and a poorly veiled one at that.
Sick of it August 21, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Speak for yourself. My own children who have played for Mr. Tozier and have gone through TMS as well have absolutely no fear of Mr. Tozier. There was a reason why the basketball team rallied in support of him when he was unjustly let go.
Crtopher August 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM
The fact that any teacher has an allegation of abuse against him/her is enough for me to stop and ask questions. .Mr.Tozier has several allegations against him and sadly one has already caused his reassignment. Regardless of your personal experiences with Mr. Tozier and your personal belief he would not or could not commit these acts and the belief that this is a witch hunt. Obviously there is an ongoing pattern that we need to look at and should not ignore. As responsible adults in this community we have a responsibility to examine all of the facts and not turn our heads because we feel he is a "nice guy.". Given the nature of the accusations, the number of accusations over the years and the reassignment, leads me to the conclusion that I do not want him to teach children at any level. Why those of you out there say "protect him at any cost and save his job." is not a rational alternative. He is currently under investigation yet again. Do we wait until there is a serious injury or a repeat of the incidents in Colorado? No, we recognize the early signs and we act on them.
Angry Student August 22, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I just graduated Tolland Middle School as well. Mr. Tozier was my gym teacher and NONE of the kids in my class "feared" him. Everyone I talked to agreed it was stupid for him to be on leave. He wouldn't intentionally hurt someone. Everyone looked forward to gym class because he always had us playing a new sport and he even interacted with the kids. Everyone missed him when he was gone and he was always a friendly staff member.
Theron DeBella August 22, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Who wants to be a teacher nowadays when the slightest incident bringing law and order to the school gets them in the paper or worse, fired. Why spend 4 to 8 years of good college money only to have to walk on eggshells when every parent, that should be disciplining their own children, freak out because little Johnny or Jane needs to be snapped back in line. What is this world of "Save the Whales Coming too"? Get a grip and grow a backbone. Why destroy a man's life and livelihood. I am embarrassed we as a society have become so soft. Maybe little Johnny can live with his parents until he is 40 and never be held accountable like the rest of the handout society. Give the man a break for if you have never worn his shoes then you have no idea what he has to deal with or the environment he works in.
Jane Doe August 26, 2012 at 11:52 PM
The facts are that DCF found no case!!
Tolland Resident September 07, 2012 at 03:02 AM
TO THE PERSON WHO ALSO COMMENTED ON THIS: Your children are overacting liars, because they are CHILDREN and any one who has actually met the man would know that is all a completely blown out of proportion and untrue. Unlike over protective parents who take everything their child says and make it a big deal. This makes me so angry cause its untrue and now a great man's life is ruined because of it. I would never want to be a teacher with kids these days, anything they say could ruin your career. Pathetic.
Tolland Resident September 07, 2012 at 03:06 AM
11,12,13 year old CHILDREN who overreact and make up LIES. Then their over protective parents do anything they can to speculate and ruin a makes life based on something an 11 year old said? I had Mr. Tozier and he was actually one of my favorite teachers who is well respected by many. I feel sorry for him because he doesn't deserve this. Parents in the case make me angry cause they have never had him as a teacher or met him yet, they think they know everything about this man. THIS IS BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION AND IS UNDESERVED.
Tolland Resident September 07, 2012 at 03:08 AM
EXACTLY!!! agree 100%

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