SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The head football coach at Rockland County’s Ramapo High School has been accused of hitting a 15-year-old player in the head with a helmet.
Duffman Pannell, 43, is charged with second-degree assault in connection with Monday’s alleged incident which apparently happened during practice, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
The teen sustained a swollen eye, Jones reported.
Ramapo students said they’re shocked by the allegations.
“He doesn’t seem like the type of guy that would do something like that,” one student told WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell.
“He’s my teacher first period. He’s a really good teacher,” another Ramapo student said.
“I feel like not going to first period because he’s not there, he’s my teacher and I like him. He’s a good teacher,” 11th grade student Evan Arevado told CBS 2′s Lou Young. “Yes, I’m angry!”
The school district released a statement saying, “It has come to our attention that there was an incident involving a coach and a student. We are conducting an internal investigation in conjunction with the Ramapo Police Department. The coach was arrested and released. Until the investigation is completed, the coach has been released from his coaching responsibilities.”
Football practice is now in the hands of an assistant and fellow teachers at Ramapo say they’re withholding judgment on a man who seems to be widely admired.
“I’d like to see the evidence that comes out before having any opinions. I’m not going to say he’s guilty or innocent until we have more information,” longtime Ramapo teacher Charles Lieberman told Young. “He’s a very nice man, yes he is and the students like him a great deal.”
Pannell is due in court on Oct. 29.
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