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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Still no closure for Pasco teacher accused of manhandling student



A month ago, the Pasco School Board overruled superintendent Heather Fiorentino's plan to fire Jeffrey Bush, a teacher at the Irvin Educational Center. Bush had been accused of violently grabbing a student who made lewd comments about his wife.

Even though the board sided with Bush, the story isn't over.

Fiorentino has stated that she will reinstate Bush to another post in the district, but she does not intend to repay him the salary he lost while suspended without pay. Bush's lawyers and union argue that such a move is against the law.

Florida statute 1012.33, section 6b, says in the case of a school employee being charged with misconduct, "if the charges are not sustained, he or she shall be immediately reinstated, and his or her back salary shall be paid."

"Heather Fiorentino's intransigence on an untenable position is not reason for him to suffer," United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb said.

But Fiorentino contends that, while the board didn't agree with her choice of penalty, neither did it clear Bush of wrongdoing. In fact, she said, Bush and his lawyers admitted his grabbing of a student. And that makes him ineligible for the back pay, she suggested.

"They won Round 1, and now they're going for Round 2," Fiorentino said.

Lawyers for both sides are scheduled to make statements on the issue to the School Board on Oct. 6.


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:36am]


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