SEBRING — An Avon Park High School science teacher was disciplined for pulling a student’s ear while disciplining the student.
The School Board of Highlands County conducted an investigation into the April 22 incident that involved Avon Park High science teacher Judith Porter and a male student.
Human Resources Director Vivianne Waldron said the district took administrative action on Porter due to a violation of the Principals of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida.
“You are not supposed to touch students or discipline them by putting your hands on them or anything like that and that is what happened here,” she said. “Her perception or interpretation of the incident was that she was attempting to discipline this student and the student’s perception and interpretation was that she pulled his ear.”
Porter was disciplined with a suspension without pay, Waldron said. After everything was investigated and the students were talked to and she was spoken to, this was the disciplinary decision made by Principal Tealy Williams.
Also, Porter was given a written reprimand and the incident has been reported to the Professional Practices Commission of the Florida Department of Education, she said.
“We report any incident that leads to a suspension,” Waldron said. “Those types of incidents involving students, especially when you put your hands on students during any kind of disciplinary reason, we have to be very, very careful when you do that.”
At Monday’s school board meeting, the board approved the district’s personnel recommendations, which included the following actions concerning Porter — administrative leave with pay from April 24 through April 29 and administrative leave without pay from April 30 through May 2.