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  1. Education

Four Hillsborough school employees face discipline Tuesday

Published Oct. 23, 2014

TAMPA — Adam Reynolds thought it would be fun to introduce some of his middle school students to his brother Carter, a popular social media personality.

Mistake.

The pizza party Reynolds organized at Carrollwood's Ben Hill Middle School in April is now the subject of a Hillsborough County School District investigation that could cost the 43-year-old physical education teacher his job.

"It's so frustrating," said Reynolds, who has worked for the district since 2001 and is now accused of insubordination.

Reynolds is one of four employees who face suspension or termination when the School Board meets on Tuesday.

Reynolds says an assistant principal at Ben Hill told him he could invite some female students to a pizza party to meet his brother. "These were good kids that I liked," he said.

A letter from the district says the school never gave consent for the party and that it led to a major disruption as other students tried to get in and meet Carter Reynolds.

The district also says he had an unauthorized fundraiser at a country club that same week. Reynolds says nothing improper happened at the fundraiser.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the board will be asked to suspend Phillip Sanchez, 37, a science teacher at Gaither High School, for unprofessional behavior. Sanchez is accused of hitting a student in the face with a rubber band on Aug. 22.

The incident follows three others that include a tug-of-war with a student over a cellphone in June and an episode in 2010 in which Sanchez allegedly used a self-made shocking device on a student.

The district also wants to fire two non-instructional workers.

Bus driver Deandre Kemp, 25, is accused of having tested positive for marijuana after an accident. Documents provided by the district Wednesday did not indicate whether Kemp was driving a school bus at the time. Kemp has been with the district since 2008.

And the district is accusing sites and utilities operator Kevin Artz of verbally threatening a co-worker on Sept. 16. According to a letter from professional standards, Artz was suspended a month earlier for placing his hands on another worker's neck.

Artz, Kemp and Sanchez could not be reached for comment. All four are entitled to a hearing.

Contact Marlene Sokol at (813) 226-3356 or sokol@tampabay.com. Follow @marlenesokol.

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