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Florida mom says teacher asked student to choke herself with his hand

JROTC teacher apologizes, claims he was 'just joking'
Posted at 7:32 AM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 10:54:21-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — A Florida mother said an incident at her daughter's high school can be summed up in two words.

"That's bull****," she said.

To protect her identity, WFTX was not showing her face or her teenage daughter's face.

The girl said it all started last Tuesday when she and several other JROTC classes at Lehigh Senior High School were outside doing drills.

"He just looked at me and he put his hand out and told me, 'Get my hand and choke yourself,'" the teen said.

The "he" she's referring to is a JROTC instructor at the school. She said he's not her teacher, but she sees him often when all of the JROTC classes do drills outside.

"I was very confused, so I asked him, 'What did you say?' and he repeated himself," the girl said. "So I walked away. As I'm walking away, he yells out, 'Don't be scared.'"

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But that teen said she was a little scared and immediately called her stepfather and texted her mom.

Her stepfather called the school to complain and was called back by the sergeant himself, who apologized and claimed he was "just joking" and that they "joke like that in class."

"That is inappropriate for a teacher to say to anybody," the girl's mother said.

To add insult to injury, the mother said she spent days trying to get the school principal to call her back and was eventually directed to speak to an assistant principal, who promised to "speak to her daughter."

But that mother said all they've done so far is ask her daughter if she wanted to switch classes, so she doesn't have to see that teacher.

"So, basically, you wanted to remove my daughter from the class as if she's the problem," she said.

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The Lee County School District released the following statement on the incident:

The teacher has apologized to the student and the student’s mother for the comment. School administrators have on at least three occasions spoken to the mother about the incident but are prohibited from releasing discipline information until after the matter is closed. The final outcome will be placed in the teachers personnel file and available for review under a public records request.

That mom said this response isn't good enough. She added that "justice," in this case, would be the teacher's removal from the classroom.

"They don't want it done to their daughter or son and I don't either," she said. "It's inappropriate. Point blank."

WFTX learned that, according to the current Teacher's Association of Lee County contract with Lee County schools, this incident falls under the designation of a "site-based" investigation. This means that if an employee is accused of wrongdoing an administrator at the school, such as the principal or assistant principal, would launch an investigation. They would be the ones to determine if the district would get involved or if the staff member should be suspended. That administrator is also responsible for determining the appropriate punishment in this case.

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