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Boca Raton teacher accused of inappropriate behavior and relationship with student while teaching in New York

Posted at 4:50 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 20:28:13-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A teacher at Olympic Heights Community High School in suburban Boca Raton was having a sexual relationship with a student, fixing grades, and giving students money while he was teaching at Long Island High School in Queens, New York, according to the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District.

Peter Muhlbach, 53, is listed as a math teacher at Olympic Heights.

The SCI started investigating Muhlbach in December of 2018 when it received an anonymous tip that said Muhlbach had photos on social media with a female student inside a bar.

The investigation found Muhlbach starting sleeping with a student in 2015. The student is now 24.

The report said "Muhlbach gave her alcohol and marijuana on several occasions," and she moved into his apartment after she graduated. SCI said the student told them Muhlbach gave her an American Eagle gift card and access to his car. She said the two broke up when she learned he was hiding her mail and had plans to move to Florida.

In February, a 15-year-old’s parents reported that Muhlbach would text their daughter and even bought her a sweatshirt for Christmas. Her parents were also concerned about her grades because her grade in Mulbach’s class was 90 percent while she averaged 50 to 60 percent in the rest of her classes.

The report said when Muhlbach texted one student and asked her what grade she wanted, "she told him she wanted a 90, and that is the grade she received—despite the fact that, by her own estimation, she was 'failing miserably' and got a 35 on her math Regents exam." Investigators found two other occasions where Muhlbach changed grades.

Other students told SCI they were given money and presents. One student said Muhlbach gave her $50 in cash on her 16th birthday. Another girl was given a stuffed baby flamingo from Florida for her birthday, according to investigative documents.

Muhlbach would also comment on a girl’s social media photos. The report said one time Muhlbach commented on a 17-year-old student's photo by "placing an emoji with heart eyes on a provocative picture."

A student described Muhlbach to investigators as "always the 'cool' teacher the students knew they could 'hit up' as needed."

Attorney Elysa Greenblatt told the SCI that Muhlbach would not speak with investigators because of his tenured status.

The SCI report showed Muhlbach was reassigned to the Queens North Reassignment Center on May 9, 2019 with a problem code attached to his record. He then resigned from the New York City Department of Education on Sept. 1, 2019.

The SCI report recommended Muhlbach not be allowed to work in the DOE and sent a copy to the New York State of Education Department if they wish to reach action.

The School District of Palm Beach County School said the district recently became aware of the allegations made in New York against Mr. Muhlbach. The district said it's investigating and cannot comment further at this time.

Muhlbach and his attorney could not be reached for comment.

11 19 Muhlbach Report by Monica Magalhaes on Scribd