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Former Hernando teacher's 'gross immorality' may cost his certification

BROOKSVILLE — Former Hernando High School teacher and coach Eric A. Riggins will likely lose his Florida teaching certificate for his behavior toward two female students during the 2007-2008 school year and for showing up at the school's prom under the influence of alcohol.

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An administrative law judge, based on evidence and testimony presented during a December hearing in Brooksville, this week recommended the state permanently revoke Riggins' certificate.

The recommendation is based on allegations that he violated the principles of professional conduct, failed to make an effort to protect students and subjected students to embarrassment, among other charges.

According to the order, Riggins "engaged in acts of gross immorality that cannot be condoned for a person who is supposed to provide a positive role model for students."

One student testified that Riggins, who was working as an in-school suspension monitor and a track coach, put his hand underneath her skirt on one occasion and touched her crotch through her clothes on another. Another said Riggins kissed her and sent her sexually explicit text messages.

Both students declined to press criminal charges to avoid further embarrassment, records show.

Riggins, 33, resigned in May 2008 instead of being terminated. The state's Education Practices Commission is expected to consider the order at a meeting in the coming weeks.

Former Hernando teacher's 'gross immorality' may cost his certification 02/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 12, 2010 5:40pm]
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