South Walton HS Football Coach Charged with Child Abuse

FREEPORT, Fla- 58-year-old James Barron, a football coach at South Walton High School, has been arrested and charged with child abuse, a third-degree felony. Barron is charged with striking one of his players in the throat, twice, and also is alleged to have taught his players a technique known as the “throat thrust,” to use against opposing teams.

Barron is said to have protected his players with a medical neck brace during football practice, as he taught them to strike opponents in the throat with the part of their hands between the thumb and forefinger. He allegedly mentioned using the move against a tight end on the opposing Freeport High School team.

The child abuse charge comes after Barron is said to have screamed profanities at one of his players who missed a tackle during practice. While shouting at the player, witnesses say Barron struck the juvenile twice in the throat, and tried to strike him a third time before being blocked by the player. The juvenile told deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Department that he briefly had trouble breathing after the strike, and later had soreness in his neck.

The investigation into the incident began on October 13th, the incident allegedly taking place at football practice on October 12th.

The neck-strike Barron was teaching his players is not a legal move, and can lead to injury or even death. Players deny using the move during football games, and there is no evidence to prove that technique was used during an official football game.


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  • by Support Location: Defuniak Springs on Nov 5, 2010 at 06:59 PM
    YFOR I can tell you it wasn't kept secret. It was all over the county by the next day after this alleged incident took place. Also if you see in the news that he is not speaking with reporters who try to contact him, it is because he has been told by his superiors that he is not allowed to speak with anyone about it. The man cannot give his side of the story or defend himself in public other than a courtroom. I have seen first hand one coach who's contract was not renewed due to the fact that he would not do what the parents wanted him to do. They didn't want their child to play football in the rain, in the heat and did not want them playing rough. When he explained that this was football and that it meant playing when it was hot etc., his contract was not renewed because they wanted to run the show. Another coach ended up as a teacher Why? One parent didn't like him, talked 2or 3 others into joining her into accusing him of yelling and screaming profanity at the kids.Need I say more?
  • by Adq on Nov 5, 2010 at 08:05 AM
    Here are the facts. In practice, the week before the Freeport game, Coach Barron made one of his players wear a medical neck brace so other players could practice hitting him in the throat. He was targeting 1 player on the Freeport team. The South Walton players refused to use the technique against the boy in the game. Coach Barron was so angry that they didn't follow his instructions that he struck one of his own players in the throat two times. He tried to hit him a third time but the player stopped him. There were several witnesses.
  • by privacy Location: SW on Nov 5, 2010 at 06:20 AM
    it's secretive because the man has a right to a fair trial free from speculation.
  • by YFOR Location: WALTON COUNTY on Nov 4, 2010 at 08:28 PM
    wHAT i WANT TO KNOW IS IF HE DIDNT DO ANY OF THIS WHY WAS IT AND IS IT STILL STILL SO SECRETIVE?????
  • by Support Location: Defuniak Springs on Nov 4, 2010 at 06:46 PM
    I guess Coach Barron has not won enough games to suit some of the higher ups, or it could be another parent who dislikes someone. I have seen Walton County fire some people who deserved to fired and some who didn't. Also some who needed to be fired that wasn't. But I can truthfully say that Coach Barron does not deserve it. I have known him since he came here, and have watched many of his practices. I have never heard him shout profanity at anyone or strike anyone. He would never have intentionally struck a student, or taught them illegal moves to use against any other player. He might have taught them what moves were illegal, but would never have taught them something that would cause injury or death to anyone. How about everyone getting all the facts before you convict someone and ruin their lives. Walk a mile in his shoes before you judge him. Coach I have the utmost respect for you. I'm sorry that you had to find out,in Walton County, money speaks louder than a persons character.
  • by chad rosamond on Nov 4, 2010 at 03:22 PM
    i played for this man for three years at south walton and this report is malicious. barron is a good man and good coach who has scolded his staff publicly for being inappropriate with athletes and this incident did not occur this way . further more he would bench a player for being unsportsmanlike in a game so would not be teaching a throat thrust he has been a coach for a long time and a very respected one
  • by Concerned Mom Location: Destin on Nov 4, 2010 at 07:23 AM
    My son will likely be playing football for that school next year, and I can assure that any abusive behavior will not be tolerated. I certainly hope that he is no longer afforded the opportunity to coach anyone's children in the future. I would assume that their practices will be closely monitored to ensure the safety of the boys from here on out.
  • by Jim Location: Destin on Nov 4, 2010 at 04:54 AM
    "Whimps"? You're quite eloquent, sir.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 4, 2010 at 04:16 AM
    Looks like the person who posted about whimps needs to look into some English classes.
  • by arch Location: walton on Nov 3, 2010 at 04:21 PM
    coach when you take a job in an area with 90% whimps you can teach their little whimps to be men. sound like you can from and era when men built men will the group you have come from not but you name them. give them hell! coach
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