Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Firing of Middle School Dean, et al.? Excessive Force Complaint Leads to Proposed Termination Over Racial Incident
Institutional racism was allegedly on display when an African-American student, allegedly singled out in the cafeteria when a group of students were giggling was strapped to a chair by the Sebastian Middle School Dean, f/k/a Vice Principal PETER SHARMAN, possibly resulting in a sprained (or fractured or broken) arm, which the student wore in a sling the next day.
While The St. Augustine Record had a banner headline this morning, it lacks details. I have requested the investigative report and photos and invoices for the restraint chair.
Where was the $57/hour Sheriff's Deputy?
Who trained these people?
Is the African-American among the three being set up as a scapegoat?
Will the three be permitted to contact school employees and students to obtain potentially exculpatory testimony and witnesses?
Complaint filed: 3 Sebastian Middle School employees recommended for termination following school district investigation
Posted: September 29, 2015 - 11:50am
By JAKE MARTIN
The St. Johns County School District has recommended termination of employment for three Sebastian Middle School staff following its investigation into a complaint filed by a parent regarding treatment of one student.
District spokeswoman Christina Langston said the complaint was filed with the district on Sept. 17 regarding “events” that took place on Sept. 16.
Investigated were Peter Sharman, dean of students; Robert O’Shell, physical education teacher; and Jarrod Branco, paraprofessional and boys’ and girls’ volleyball coach. Sharman has been employed with the school district since 1989; O’Shell since 2000; and Branco since 2013.
Langston said on Tuesday she could not confirm the specific nature of the complaint.
However, each of the three employees have received two letters from the school district via hand-delivery as a result of the school district’s investigation.
The first letter, dated Sept. 18, informed each of his suspension with pay “due to the alleged aggressive behavior used while handling a student.”
Also included were instructions for each employee not to be on any property of the school district during the investigation, unless directed to do so by the Human Resources Department or school administration.
“You are not to discuss this suspension with any co-worker, parents or students,” the letter continued.
A handwritten note on O’Shell’s letter indicated he “does not wish to sign.”
Langston said all three staff members were immediately suspended with pay, pending results of the investigation, in accordance with school district protocol.
“It’s standard procedure when we begin an investigation,” she said.
Langston said the school district, particularly the Human Resources Department, was responsible for conducting the investigation.
“We thoroughly investigate any complaints received, especially when it involves a student,” she said.
Langston said, to her knowledge, law enforcement was not involved in the investigation.
The second letter, dated Sept. 23, was a notice of intention to recommend termination of employment.
As written in each of those letters, “you engaged in inappropriate behavior during an interaction with a student in the school cafeteria.”
As written in the letters sent to Sharman and O’Shell, “the proposed termination of your employment is due to immorality, misconduct in office, and incompetency ... ”
“I in know (sic) way agree with any of the above,” wrote Sharman in his acknowledgment of the letter.
Sharman answered a phone call from The Record on Tuesday evening but hung up without comment.
When asked on Tuesday if he had a response to the contents of the letter recommending termination of his employment, O’Shell said, “I do not; not at this time.”
The letter sent to Branco reads: “It is the Superintendent’s opinion that your termination would be for cause.”
“I do not wish to comment, sorry,” Branco said on Tuesday.
Employees were also informed they will continue to receive paid suspension until the next regular meeting of the St. Johns County School Board, on Oct. 13, “at which time the Superintendent intends to recommend to the St. Johns County School Board that your employment with the St. Johns County School District be terminated.”
A phone call was placed to Principal Kelly Battell at Sebastian early Tuesday afternoon for comment but was not returned.
Langston said she could neither confirm nor deny whether the student referred to in the complaint is attending school.
A 15-day window from receipt of the Sept. 23 letter is still open for Sharman and/or O’Shell to submit a written request for a hearing.
According to Florida Statutes, a direct hearing shall be conducted at the district school board’s election within 60 days after receipt of a written appeal. A majority vote by the school board shall be required to sustain the superintendent’s recommendation.
Branco, as written in the letter sent to him, has a right to file a grievance pursuant to Article V of the school district’s negotiated agreement with the St. Johns Educational Support Professional Association.
According to the agreement, all members of the bargaining unit may have the right of SJESPA representation at each level of the grievance procedure.
Morris1 09/30/15 - 02:15 pm 01Consider this:
The Dean of Students didn't know the difference between the word "no" and "know". That is not a "typo", that is not a "misspelling". That is someone who, in my opinion, shouldn't be in a position to teach kids anything, irrespective of whatever occurred in this event.
Police and Teachers are two fields that are in desperate need of radically higher standards and radically higher pay, with a possible majority of current practitioners seen out the door to another profession more suited to their aptitudes.
Firstcoaster 09/30/15 - 02:26 pm 20Fractured arm
Jax news reported that the student's arm was fractured. What could possibly have happened?