updated 1/25/2006 5:09:39 PM ET 2006-01-25T22:09:39

A father marched into a classroom and punched a teacher’s assistant in the face after his teenage daughter accused the man of inappropriately touching her.

“I’m not real proud of what I did,” Dave F. Swafford, 42, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “You have to protect your children, and my daughter does not lie to me.”

Swafford was charged with felony battery on a school employee after he hit the 35-year-old aide in front of a full class at Lakewood Ranch High near Bradenton on Tuesday, authorities said.

A Tampa radio station named him “Father of the Year,” offering Swafford and his family Daytona 500 race tickets.

The school placed the aide on paid leave Tuesday because of the allegation, district spokeswoman Margi Nanney said. The sheriff’s office is investigating.

Swafford said he came to school to meet with officials about his 15-year-old daughter’s allegations. When he saw that the aide was not at the meeting, Swafford asked his daughter to take him to the man.

They argued, and “I lost control,” Swafford said. Swafford spent about 10 hours in jail before getting out on bail.

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