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Hernando teacher serves 10-day suspension after allegations of mistreating students

BROOKSVILLE — A second-grade teacher at Pine Grove Elementary School was suspended without pay for 10 days after an investigation into allegations that she physically and verbally mistreated students.

Teresa Wimmer, a nine-year veteran at Pine Grove, was suspended without pay beginning Oct. 29 after the Hernando County School District's investigation.

Wimmer returned to the school in a different teaching assignment on Nov. 13 and was placed on probation for the remainder of the school year, according to the district's investigation. She will complete courses in classroom management and other strategies, and agreed to waive additional due process proceedings.

The terms are part of a so-called last-chance agreement Wimmer signed on Oct. 28. The district agreed not to pursue her termination.

The incident came to the attention of Pine Grove principal Earl Deen on Aug. 28 when two families brought forward allegations of misconduct. One student said Wimmer yelled in his face, called him a baby and pulled on his arm while he was rocking in his chair. Shortly after that, another parent told Deen that Wimmer had shaken his son until he was crying and called him a wimp.

Deen investigated the claims, interviewing nine students, and determined the allegations were founded.

The students were generally in agreement that Wimmer grabbed a student by the arm, pushed or threw a chair and pushed the student to the floor. They also said that Wimmer pokes students' foreheads, turns their heads and calls them wimps, babies and dumb.

The day after the allegations were made, Wimmer defended herself and her actions.

She said that one of the students was sitting in his chair with his legs up and was rocking. She went to him and tapped his legs and told him to sit properly. She said he started to rock back and forth like he was riding a bronco. She went over and took him out of his chair and told him to sit on the ground.

With regards to the other student, she denied picking him up and shaking him. She said that she had never done anything and that he is a good student with no problems.

Wimmer did not return a call seeking comment. Her attorney, Kelly Cavanaugh, said she was not authorized to comment.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Hernando teacher serves 10-day suspension after allegations of mistreating students 11/21/13 [Last modified: Thursday, November 21, 2013 8:46pm]
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