Convicted of DUI, teacher faces suspension
Among the items the Pinellas School Board is scheduled to consider when it meets tonight is a recommendation to suspend a teacher charged for the second time in five years with drunk driving.
Martin Moraniec, a teacher at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg, was found guilty Sept. 25 of driving under the influence of alcohol. Moraniec was convicted on the same charge in 2002. Superintendent Clayton Wilcox has recommended a five-day suspension without pay for Moraniec, who began working for the district in 1998.
District records show that in addition to being disciplined for the first DUI, Moraniec has been reprimanded twice, once in 1999 for misconduct and again in 2001 for inappropriate remarks to a student. Additionally, his annual evaluations from 1999 through 2003 include the phrase "growth expected" in areas such as judgment and professional ethics, management of student conduct, and routine duties and responsibilities.
A staff attorney for the district concluded that a five-day suspension without pay, which in Moraniec's case will be a loss of $974.60, is consistent with past practice for a second DUI conviction. A narrative of the investigation states that Moraniec has been made aware of the district's Employee Assistance Program.
- Donna Winchester, Pinellas education reporter