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District emails not for fantasy football, Pasco official reminds school workers



Of course it's not, you're saying to yourself.

But the message that school district email accounts must be used for official public purposes only needed reiteration at one Pasco County school, after superintendent Kurt Browning received a complaint that teachers appeared to be running a fantasy football league through district email.

"This letter is to inform you that there is some sort of gambling going on at my son's school," a Gulfside Elementary School parent wrote anonymously to state K-12 chancellor Hershel Lyons. "I'm concerned as this is an F graded school. I believe they should be more interested in teaching the students and bringing up the grade, then (sic) who won the fantasy football or sorts."

The parent included copies of an email from a teacher, sent from a district account, inviting all school staff to participate in an NFL fantasy league on Yahoo. "Most points each week wins, you get all the 'Skittles'!!!" the teacher wrote.

Lyons forwarded the issue to Browning, who asked assistant superintendent Tammy Berryhill to investigate.

"If true, this issue troubles me," Browning wrote in a note to Berryhill. "Please get with (the principal) and make sure it stops."

Berryhill said her review found that just one email was sent on a district account, inviting people to play. After that, all fantasy league activity took place off campus and after hours, not using district materials, she said.

"This is not the type of thing that should be going on during the school day," she told the Gradebook. "They are not to use school equipment or time to be doing this type of thing."

At the same time, Berryhill added, the district cannot and will not police what employees are doing outside their work hours and away from school facilities.

The teacher in question has apologized, and the district considers the case closed. But the message is now out there for all to remember: Public email, public purpose.

"It's never to take place again," Berryhill said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 11:28am]


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