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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco County teacher suspended over inappropriate comments to students

17

February

A River Ridge High School language arts teacher has received a three-day suspension and last-chance warning after making inappropriate comments to students about their race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, dress, academic ability and other "disparaging topics."

Michael Maynard, a Pasco County teacher since 2003, was accused of making fun of a student for being gay and acting effeminate. He denied using the specific language students reported. Students also complained that Maynard made comments about a student's shorts, telling her she needed to think about "what a man might be thinking" after seeing a butterfly on the back.

He was reported as having called a student "f------ stupid," made fun of an African-American student whose last name is Brown, and talked in class about "Good Christian Republicans." He acknowledged some of the allegations but not all of them.

"Many of these students reported concerns with your profanity, comments regarding Christians, and disparaging comments regarding the service industry, among other concerns," superintendent Kurt Browning wrote in a charging letter to Maynard. "These students also reported a fear of your reaction upon learning of their complaints, or parents' complaints, with your behavior."

Maynard had been reprimanded four times in the past regarding his interactions with students. Those included in 2009, when his use of inappopriate language netted him an involuntary transfer from Land O'Lakes High to River Ridge; in 2010, when he called a student a "dirt bag"; in 2012, for "poor choice of words"; and in 2014, for profanity toward students and an "unprofessional reply" to a parent.

This latest activity also resulted in Maynard being transferred to Wiregrass Ranch High School. "It is not possible for you to remain a teacher at River Ridge High School," Browning wrote to Maynard, adding that he might be subject to another transfer at the end of the year.

District spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said Maynard has since taken a leave of absence from the district.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 4:18pm]

    

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