Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Education

Pinellas teacher resigns following arrest on child porn charges

PINELLAS PARK — The teacher who was arrested on 10 charges of possessing child pornography has agreed to resign, Pinellas school officials said Monday.

John Kaneski, 42, taught English as a Second Language at Cross Bayou Elementary School, and had worked in Pinellas schools since 1994.

On Friday, Pinellas sheriff's deputies arrested Kaneski at his home in Dunedin. They said they found child pornography on his home computer.

Pinellas school officials on Monday said the staff had "secured the resignation" of Kaneski, and that his information would be forwarded to the Florida Department of Education, which could revoke his teaching license.

Kaneski remained in the Pinellas County Jail on Monday in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Pinellas officials sought to comfort parents and teachers after the arrest. The school district arranged to have extra counselors on hand at Cross Bayou Elementary School on Monday, the first day back at school from the winter break.

On Friday, Cross Bayou principal Kathy Wickett sent an e-mail and phone message to parents.

She wrote that "none of the images depict students at our school, or at any school in the district."

And, she added, "I want to further assure you that any adult who works one-on-one with students or in small groups, as Mr. Kaneski did, does so in a highly visible area, such as a hallway or a room with other adults. Your child's safety is of the utmost importance to us here at Cross Bayou and we maintain constant vigilance to ensure that students are protected at all times."

Pinellas schools spokeswoman Debbie Wolfe said Kaneski began working in the district in 1994. He worked at Walsingham Elementary, Curlew Creek Elementary and Skycrest Elementary before moving to Cross Bayou in 2010.

Wolfe said she did not have access to information Monday on why Kaneski left each school.

Kaneski was the subject of at least one previous complaint. A girl at Curlew Creek when Kaneski taught there said he touched her inappropriately. But the child, then 8, later recanted, and the case was dropped.

Curtis Krueger can be reached at (727) 893-8232 or [email protected]

This story has been changed to reflect the following correction: John Kaneski began working as a teacher in Pinellas County in 1994. A story published Tuesday listed an incorrect date.

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