updated 3/21/2006 11:04:54 AM ET 2006-03-21T16:04:54

A substitute teacher will spend a year on probation for tying a mock noose around a young boy’s neck during an after-school program.

Prosecutors said Albert Coleman, Jr. wanted to punish the boy for not following instructions to do his homework. He asked the boy if he knew what strangulation was, made him stand on a chair, then put the looped end of a decorative string that was hanging from a light fixture around the boy’s neck and kicked the chair, prosecutors said.

Coleman, 61, had told a grand jury he was only playing and that the string was never around the boy’s neck.

A judge last month found Coleman guilty of assault and disorderly conduct and sentenced him last week to a year probation.

Coleman avoided jail time because he had no prior criminal record, Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Mark Ali said in Tuesday’s Star-Ledger of Newark. The conviction prevents Coleman from ever working as a teacher again.

The family of the boy, now 9, has filed notice that it intends to sue the Newark school district, Coleman and others.

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