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Records: Riviera Beach teacher charged with abuse last month has been fired twice

Posted at 4:22 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 19:01:02-05

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Local grade school teacher Cynthia Smith is on administrative duty with the Palm Beach County School District.

She works in an office, where she has no contact with students.

Paperwork obtained by WPTV Contact 5 shows in the 1990’s Smith started her career with the district as a school bus aide, then worked her way through college and became a teacher at age 48.

Cynthia Smith's personnel file shows her 15-year history as a teacher with the district.

She became a kindergarten teacher at West Riviera elementary school in Riviera Beach in 2004.

Documents show, despite positive personnel reviews, the school district let Smith go in the summer of 2007, when she failed to get her teaching certificate renewed.

She got that certificate back in 2008.

Records show she worked as a substitute, then a full-time teacher at U.B. Kinsey/ Palmview Elementary in West Palm Beach.

An unemployment claim form shows Smith was let go before the end of the 2009-2010 school year finding she “was discharged for not performing the job to the employer’s satisfaction.”

But just after school started that fall, the district re-hired Cynthia Smith to be a grade school teacher at Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School in Riviera Beach.

During Smith's time there, her personnel file shows she received positive evaluations.

That was before police arrested her for an incident in January.

The principal told police, surveillance video showed Smith "violently shoving" a 7-year-old face first into a wall in a hallway.

According to the arrest report, the school principal says, “There are at least four cases” where Cynthia Smith has been put on report, calling her “very aggressive towards the children,” and receiving “numerous complaints from parents about Smith's behavior.”

Cynthia Smith is due in court next month for the child abuse charge.

We have requested documentation of those past incidents the principal reported to police- since they were not in her personnel file.