Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Education

Hernando teacher-turned-angry-parent is suspended

SPRING HILL — School administrators deal with angry parents and disgruntled employees all the time. On Friday, authorities say, Aaron Kinkaid was both.

Within hours of the first bell, Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics was placed on modified lockdown, and Kinkaid, a robotics teacher whose son is a fourth-grader at the magnet school, was suspended with pay.

School officials say Kinkaid, 41, failed to get permission to leave Challenger when he took his son and left campus. But it was his behavior before he left that led administrators to lock the school's doors, according to an incident report from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

About 8 a.m., Kinkaid tried to get into a leadership meeting in one of the school's conference rooms to tell those in attendance they were "monsters," the report by Deputy Derek Origon shows.

Witnesses said Kinkaid, as he walked through the school's front lobby with his son, yelled that he "didn't trust anyone and that everyone in the school was against them." He said he was leaving for Eastside Elementary School.

Assistant principal Michael Maine called Origon, who was acting as school resource officer at nearby Powell Middle School.

"Michael advised that Aaron had made irrational statements and left the school and there was a concern for Aaron's wellbeing and the safety of the school," Origon wrote.

Maine said he suspected that Kinkaid was distressed that his son had been the subject of an investigation after staffers found him in possession of firearm ammunition casings.

Origon was waiting when Kinkaid returned to campus later in the day. He was agitated, Origon wrote, and yelled to parents in the immediate area: "The school is not safe. Remove your kids from the school. Leave!"

Kinkaid told Origon that he thought school administrators were against him and his son and target gifted students at Challenger by disciplining them for no reason. Kinkaid told Origon that he did not make any threats to anyone during the incident, and he also reported that another Challenger teacher had recently battered him.

The battery allegations are under investigation, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said Tuesday.

Origon determined that Kinkaid had not broken any laws and did not show signs indicating he needed to be taken into custody under the state Baker Act, which allows authorities to detain people who may harm themselves or others.

Kinkaid's paid suspension is pending the outcome of a district investigation, said superintendent Bryan Blavatt.

"In this particular case, we're looking at the conditions under which he left the school," Blavatt said.

Kinkaid has been advised by the teachers union not to comment to reporters, said Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.

Vitalo said the incident has been blown out of proportion.

"We will show that he did get the coverage that was necessary for him to step off campus to take his child home," Vitalo said.

Kinkaid's comments about the school being unsafe were made sarcastically after he realized that a deputy was waiting for him, Vitalo said. At no time did Kinkaid threaten anyone, he said.

"Mr. Kinkaid acted no differently than any upset parent would have."

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]

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