Sarasota SRO fighting for her job after teacher’s arrest

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A school resource officer is fighting for her job after a Sarasota teacher was arrested for allegedly groping students.

The SRO says she took action to protect the girls when the administration failed. Now she feels she’s being punished.

Brookside Middle School teacher Maxwell Guss was arrested on Monday. He was accused of inappropriately touching multiple girls in his business class back in September.

According to attorney Sara Blackwell, those girls first went to the principal and nothing was done. So they then confided in School Resource Officer Kimberly Whyley.

Whyley claims after she got involved, that’s when Sarasota Police and DCF were notified.

“She immediately called their supervisor and DCF was called, Sarasota PD was called, everything started at that moment,” explained Blackwell.

Blackwell says Whyley was shocked at the principal’s response.

“She spoke to the principal after that, he was very angry with her, he said he had already taken care of it,” said Blackwell.

Whyley’s association with the principal soured and she was later placed on leave, accused of mishandling a separate bullying case.

“Its quite obvious that after she made this report that the principal was out to get rid of her. In my opinion he didn’t want his crime numbers up,” said Blackwell.

Whyley has filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and plans to file a lawsuit.

“The mistreatment and the retaliation has been hard on her as well because she was doing her job,” said Blackwell. “She is being retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment which is against federal law.”

The school district refutes these claims. A spokesperson says school administrators notified DCF about Guss and followed policies in a timely fashion.

The school district says administrators learned of the complaints as school dismissed on Sept. 4. They say the assistant principal interviewed students the following day then immediately removed Guss from school and placed him on administrative leave.

The allegations were also reported to DCF by the principal and assistant principal that afternoon. DCF notified the principal that evening that an investigation was launched.

Sarasota County Schools did not go into detail on Whyley’s response to an alleged bullying case. An official says this “unrelated incident” occurred between Officer Whyley and a student on Oct. 1.

Officials say shortly thereafter, the student’s parent asked to review video footage of the alleged incident. After viewing the video, they requested criminal charges to be filed against the officer. The SCSPD turned this over to SPD for their criminal investigation, which has concluded and is pending further review by the State Attorney’s Office.

An internal affairs investigation is also underway.

Throughout this investigation, Officer Whyley has been on paid administrative leave and has not served around students.

In addition, a committee is being formed to investigate Whyley’s complaints and the school’s handling of the Guss case.

The committee’s findings will be released sometime next month.

LATEST SARASOTA COUNTY NEWS:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Videos

Local event planner creates game encouraging residents to try, support new restaurants while stuck at home

Thumbnail for the video titled "Local event planner creates game encouraging residents to try, support new restaurants while stuck at home"

Early hurricane season forecasts predict a lightly above average season

Thumbnail for the video titled "Early hurricane season forecasts predict a lightly above average season"

Family of missing St. Petersburg woman is losing hope

Thumbnail for the video titled "Family of missing St. Petersburg woman is losing hope"

Motorcyclist and bicyclist killed after collision on Bayshore Blvd.

Thumbnail for the video titled "Motorcyclist and bicyclist killed after collision on Bayshore Blvd."

Police investigating Bayshore Blvd. traffic fatality

Thumbnail for the video titled "Police investigating Bayshore Blvd. traffic fatality"

Citrus County couple back home after weeks on cruise ships during coronavirus outbreak

Thumbnail for the video titled "Citrus County couple back home after weeks on cruise ships during coronavirus outbreak"

Trump says he will speak with DeSantis about cruise ships

Thumbnail for the video titled "Trump says he will speak with DeSantis about cruise ships"

businesses shutting down

Thumbnail for the video titled "businesses shutting down"

tobacco depot video

Thumbnail for the video titled "tobacco depot video"

Clearwater police surprise 6-year-old for his birthday

Thumbnail for the video titled "Clearwater police surprise 6-year-old for his birthday"

Migrant workers especially suffering during coronavirus crisis

Thumbnail for the video titled "Migrant workers especially suffering during coronavirus crisis"
More Local News

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss