Rodgers' Asst. Principal fights demotion following student death - WFLA News Channel 8

Rodgers' Assistant Principal fights demotion following student's death

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Shawn Livingston, asst. principal at Rodgers Middle School Shawn Livingston, asst. principal at Rodgers Middle School

The assistant principal at Rodgers Middle School is fighting to keep his job. Hillsborough's superintendent announced plans Wednesday to demote Shawn Livingston to a teacher for failing to act before a student's tragic death.

"I have not made a mistake," said Livingston. "I have done everything that I can, in my job, in my role as assistant principal at Rodgers Middle School with the utmost confidence."

Hillsborough's superintendent MaryEllen Elia said her recommendation follows the district's thorough investigation into Jenny Caballero's death. The 11-year-old sneaked out of the school gym October 22nd and drowned in a nearby retention pond.

"Our investigation reflects that Mr. Livingston was asked to speak to the ESE aides due to their lack of attentiveness to the students in their care," said Elia.

Livingston said that's simply not true. His attorney Robert McKee held a press conference Thursday in an attempt to clear his client's name.

"I felt that the investigation was to find out what can be done to make sure this doesn't occur, but to my surprise the investigation was to find me at fault for something that I am not at fault at," Livingston said.

Livingston said he did speak with the PE coach about the aides six days before Caballero disappeared from the gym. He said their conversation was about the aides' lack of engagement with the students during gym activities. Livingston said the conversation did not include any concerns about students' safety.

"It wasn't presented as any emergency situation, as anything that required immediate attention," said McKee.

Livingston was placed on administrative leave Wednesday. The school board is scheduled to vote on his job status Tuesday. Elia is also recommending the demotion of school principal Sharon Tumicki and she wants the district to fire two ESE aides. The other two aides charged with watching Caballero's class are no longer at the school. One retired and the other resigned. Rodgers' PE Coach Garry Gawrych also retired after Caballero's death.

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