A story out of Duval County, Fla., gives a whole new meaning to early childhood education. A kindergarten teacher there was fired last week for exhibiting “a troubling history of not watching over her students” — two of whom engaged in sexual relations right there in her classroom. The Florida Times-Union (h/t reader Joseph) reports:
Donna James, who taught at Southside Estates Elementary School, was terminated by the School Board on Superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s recommendation.
Vitti said Friday her behavior was unacceptable but her case was ‘an isolated situation.’
‘I was not comfortable as the superintendent knowing that this teacher would be in the classroom again,’ he said. ‘It’s never easy to terminate a teacher, but leaders have to make decisions based on children.’…
Vitti said he saw a pattern of a neglectful educator [Emphasis added].
Neglectful would be an apt description of a teacher who failed to take notice of her young charges passing notes. But when one male 6-year-old administers oral sex to another right there in her classroom, somehow neglectful doesn’t cut it.
Neither does James’s response when she learned about the incident from another student, which was to file a discipline report at the school that read, “Two boys under the table. One showing private parts and the other was touching, according to another student.”
Even more curious is James’s admission to a district investigator that the students involved sat at different ends of the classroom and that she should have had a clear view of one student leaving his seat.
According to investigation documents, the school’s principal, Deidre McDowell-Sutton, interviewed the students involved. One of them told her that this was the second time that he performed oral sex on another kindergartner. The first occurrence, the child said, took place when James left the classroom to speak with another teacher.
This was not James’s first dereliction. In 2010, the Florida Department of Children and Families investigated an incident in which she left her students alone and one ended up stabbing the other in the neck with a pencil.
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