BRADENTON -- A Manatee County judge set a $15,000 bond Friday for the Horizons Academy teacher charged with attacking a student in his classroom.
Colby Cadwell was arrested outside his home Thursday and charged with throwing a 13-year-old student to the ground and then physically throwing him out of class earlier this week.
"I just know him. I know he loves his students, they are like his children," girlfriend Audrena Scurry said out the courtroom.
Scurry, a West Palm resident, had just arrived in town and had not been able to speak with Cadwell.
"He has never been a violent person," Scurry said. "This is insanity."
Judge Thomas W. Krug also ordered that Cadwell have no contact with the victim and that he is not permitted to go back to the school while the case is pending.
Cadwell was placed on administrative leave Thursday just hours after he was arrested.
In a prepared statement, Superintendent Rick Mills said Cadwell would remain on leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
"The school district's highest priority is the safety and security of our students," Mills said.
Mills also stated that the school district would not initiate its own investigation until the case against Cadwell is resolved.
Cadwell, 31, is a teacher at the alternative school, at 1910 27th St. E., that has a stated mission to assist students in identifying and learning to cope and overcome academic and behavioral challenges in order to become functional members of the school district and community.
Calls and email to Principal Rufus Floyd for comment were unreturned.
Conditions of his paid administrative leave, however, stipulate that Cadwell must check in with Floyd on a
daily basis no later than10 a.m. giving details of his whereabouts and updated contact information if necessary, according to a letter from Assistant Superintendent Scott Martin.
He is also not permitted on any school property and cannot leave the county during his regular duty hours.
Cadwell has worked briefly at several schools in the county over the past few years, first as a teacher aide, then later a teacher.
He resigned suddenly from his teacher aide position at Haile Middle in 2007 and was also let go from Tillman Elementary despite receiving satisfactory performance review in 2008, according to his personnel files. Reasons were not disclosed.
The arrest came Thursday morning after detectives at the Sheriff's Office investigated based on the principal's report of the incident to the school resource officer.
"We got the case yesterday morning," Manatee County Sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow said Thursday. "We had him arrested about 24 hours later through witness account of what happened, a video that showed a portion of the incident, but that was quite revealing and, of course, an interview with the victim."
Bristow is confident the Sheriff's Office has a strong case.
According to court reports, Cadwell does have a history of violence. In February 2008, records show his then-wife was granted a temporary protection order against Cadwell for domestic violence involving minor children.
Jessica De Leon, Herald Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.