Fired Rodgers Middle School assistant principal aims to clear na - WFLA News Channel 8

Fired Rodgers Middle School assistant principal aims to clear name

Posted: Updated:
RIVERVIEW, FL -

A former assistant principal says he is fighting for his reputation after being fired in the wake of a student death last year.

Jennifer Caballero, an 11-year-old with Down syndrome, drowned in a pond near Rodgers Middle School in October 2012, after getting away from her physical education class.

On Tuesday, former Rodgers Assistant Principal Shawn Livingston and others testified in a courtroom-like hearing about his job. Livingston had been fired with the superintendent citing "incompetency" and "willful neglect of duty" under a Florida statute.

At the hearing on Tuesday, an attorney for the superintendent said the firing was about "inaction" and that Livingston did not address failures in the physical education department.

Former PE teacher Gary Gawrych said he had complained to Livingston about aides for the Exceptional Student Education, or ESE, students not doing their jobs and not keeping an eye on the students.

But Livingston said Gawrych "never communicated to me that he had an issue with the aides."

After Caballero's death, the district moved to fire and demote multiple employees, including Livingston. He had been offered a teaching position instead of his administrative job, but Livingston said that would have meant not pursuing his appeal.

"I would love to be an assistant principal, I would love to be a teacher," he said. "But I can't with this on my record."

Livingston's hearing was the first of its kind in Hillsborough County, taking place according to a school code that changed in 2011. School board members did not vote on Tuesday, but after a transcript of the hearing is completed, both sides will have 14 days to submit their conclusions to the board to make a decision.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

    Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:16 AM EDT2014-08-20 08:16:32 GMT
    A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.
    A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.
  • Lakeland Electric warns customers about phone payment scam

    Lakeland Electric warns customers about phone payment scam

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 12:59 PM EDT2014-08-19 16:59:20 GMT
    Lakeland Electric customers beware of a current scam that involves an individual who calls and acts as if he is a representative of Lakeland Electric.
    Lakeland Electric customers beware of a current scam that involves an individual who calls and acts as if he is a representative of Lakeland Electric.
  • Brita recalling children's water bottles

    Brita recalling children's water bottles

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-08-19 13:36:14 GMT
    Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.
    Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Closing arguments to begin in Lakeland police officer murder trial

    Closing arguments to begin in Lakeland police officer murder trial

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:09 AM EDT2014-08-20 09:09:52 GMT
    Kyle Williams is accused of killing a police officerKyle Williams is accused of killing a police officer
    Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer.
    Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer.
  • Davis Islands shooting ruled non-accidental

    Davis Islands shooting ruled non-accidental

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:28 AM EDT2014-08-20 08:28:06 GMT
    The shooting scene on Davis IslandsThe shooting scene on Davis Islands
    Tampa Police officers are investigating a shooting on Davis Islands early Wednesday morning.
    Tampa Police officers are investigating a shooting on Davis Islands early Wednesday morning.
  • Sarasota Police to try body cams

    Sarasota Police to try body cams

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 3:42 AM EDT2014-08-20 07:42:41 GMT
    Body cameras are used by several law enforcement agencies in Florida but not many in the Bay Area. Sarasota Police announced this week they will begin using body cameras on police officers with a pilot program.
    Body cameras are used by several law enforcement agencies in Florida but not many in the Bay Area. Sarasota Police announced this week they will begin using body cameras on police officers with a pilot program.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.