Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Public safety

Boca Ciega High School teacher accused of hitting student

GULFPORT — A Boca Ciega High School teacher was arrested on a child abuse charge after slapping a student during a school lockdown, police said.

John Robert Able, 46, was arrested Monday and released from the Pinellas County Jail on $5,000 bail.

Gulfport police and school officials were saying little about the incident, but an arrest report gives this brief account:

While Boca Ciega was on lockdown Friday because of a possible gun on campus, Able's students "began making a lot of noise goofing around in class when they should have been quiet," the police report says. Able tried unsuccessfully to quiet the students in the ninth-grade English class.

"While one student allegedly talked, Able stood up and slapped this student in the back of the head," the report says.

Able, after being read his rights, said he accidentally hit the student while waving his arms and trying to get the class' attention.

But a Gulfport officer interviewed students and another teacher who was in the room at the time. The officer concluded: "Able never waved his arms around trying to get his class' attention but instead walked up to (the student) and slapped him in the back of his head with his right hand. The impact was so loud the class heard the "popping" noise of when the hand hit the back of (the student's) head."

The slap did not cause any permanent injury, but the student said it hurt and burned, according to the report.

A recorded phone message was sent to Boca Ciega parents to notify them of the situation.

Able was hired to fill a temporarily vacant position at Boca Ciega High School on Jan. 3, said Pinellas County school district spokeswoman Melanie Marquez. He passed the normal background screening process. His contract with the district expires at the end of this year, Marquez said.

The school district placed Able on paid administrative leave as an internal investigation conducted by the school district's Office of Professional Standards is under way, Marquez said.

Comments
Largo police investigating fatal hit-and-run crash on East Bay Drive

Largo police investigating fatal hit-and-run crash on East Bay Drive

LARGO — Police officers are investigating a hit-and-run crash Wednesday morning that left a pedestrian dead and shut down a section of E Bay Drive.According to Largo police, the pedestrian, who police described as an older white man but did not ident...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Teen, 17, shoots Pinellas Park man who confronted him after car break-in

Police: Teen, 17, shoots Pinellas Park man who confronted him after car break-in

PINELLAS PARK — A Pinellas Park teen faces a charge of attempted murder after police say he stole a gun from an unlocked vehicle and shot the owner as he tried to give chase.Police say Brandon Paul Roman, 17, faces charges including attempted murder,...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pedestrian killed by hit-and-run driver in Tampa

Pedestrian killed by hit-and-run driver in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was fatally struck by a hit-and-run vehicle early Wednesday morning.Police say the pedestrian died at the scene after being struck in the 6900 block of E Adamo Drive.Eastbound lanes are closed at S Maydell Drive, according to the...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Fingerprint on Gatorade bottle leads to arrest of man, 23, in sexual assault of 71-year-old woman

Fingerprint on Gatorade bottle leads to arrest of man, 23, in sexual assault of 71-year-old woman

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 23-year-old man wanted in connection with sexually assaulting a 71-year-old woman on Monday left behind the clue that deputies said led them right to him: A fingerprint on a Gatorade bottle.Deputies said that and other evidence ...
Published: 02/20/18
County gives initial support to adding deputies at Hernando elementary schools

County gives initial support to adding deputies at Hernando elementary schools

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Commission on Tuesday informally supported adding as many as 10 school resource officers in county schools, including one for every elementary school, in an effort to bolster security in the wake of the deadly school...
Published: 02/20/18
Next stop for Parkland school shooting survivors: the Florida Capitol

Next stop for Parkland school shooting survivors: the Florida Capitol

PARKLAND — Students who survived the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School began a 400-mile journey to Florida’s capital Tuesday to urge lawmakers to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week.Three buses carryi...
Published: 02/20/18
Man charged with killing wife who disappeared at sea

Man charged with killing wife who disappeared at sea

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A man who claimed his wife disappeared at sea when their boat collided with an unknown object near the Bahamas was charged Tuesday with killing her and intentionally trying to sink the vessel to cover his tracks.Lewis Bennett...
Published: 02/20/18
She drove drunk with a child in the backseat, deputies say. She said she ‘just got out of rehab’

She drove drunk with a child in the backseat, deputies say. She said she ‘just got out of rehab’

A Miami woman is accused of driving intoxicated with a child in the back seat of her car — and she told a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy that she "just got out of rehab," according to arrest recordsStephanie Roque, 30, was traveling through Welli...
Published: 02/20/18
Investigators find insufficient evidence against former state fair executive director

Investigators find insufficient evidence against former state fair executive director

TAMPA — Charles Pesano may have used his position as executive director of the Florida State Fair to funnel business to his family’s company, get Tampa Bay Rays tickets and have a hot tub installed in his Valrico home, but there is no evidence he com...
Published: 02/20/18
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, found safe after leaving Bradenton home

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, found safe after leaving Bradenton home

BRADENTON — Jalyssa Shannon, the sister of 13-year-old Riverview murder victim Janessa Shannon, was found safe Monday evening after leaving her mother’s Bradenton home Sunday, authorities said.Jalyssa was found about 7 p.m., according to the Manatee ...
Published: 02/20/18