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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Escambia teachers union loses potentially big case on teacher dismissal



A longtime Escambia teacher and coach was recommended for firing nearly two years ago based on multiple inappropriate text messages to a 14-year-old female student.

He fought the firing with the teachers union, which argued that the school district failed to demonstrate "just cause" or prove that he was guilty of any serious wrongdoing. An arbitrator last week upheld the district's right to dismiss the teacher.

"In this case, Grievant admitted that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with a student. The record evidence is clear and convincing that the nature of this inappropriate conduct violated the State and School District Code of Conduct for teachers,"  arbitrator Jeanne Charles Wood wrote in her finding. "I conclude that the penalty imposed was reasonable based on the facts of this case."

Escambia School Board member Jeff Bergosh pointed out this ruling to the Gradebook. He said on his blog that he's gratified with the result, but can't understand why the union would seek to defend such a case. The district's general counsel wrote ins a letter to board members that she expected the case would resonate statewide when other districts face similar scenarios. 

[Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 11:28am]


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