Sarasota school security monitor fired after fight with student, school says

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – He was tasked with protecting students, but instead got into a fight with one.

A school security monitor at Riverview High School is out of a job and the case is under investigation to see if charges will be filed.

Last Thursday marked one month since Kenneth Howard was hired at Riverview High School. He was a security monitor and an assistant football coach.

Officials say Howard got into an argument with a student and it quickly escalated, resulting in Howard shoving the student in front of a large crowd. He was fired over the weekend.

Howard was not new to working with students, he spent years volunteering at other schools county-wide.

“He is very well respected,” Interim COO for Sarasota County Schools Jody Dumas said. “I know that students and faculty and staff around the district, specifically at Sarasota High, really respect Mr. Howard. This is why this was a very difficult decision on our part. Somebody who has worked with students for a number of years, made a mistake.”

School security monitors are tasked with securing the campus and watching over students.

“They do everything under the sun to keep students safe,” Dumas said. “They’re locking, unlocking gates. They’re monitoring areas where there are a lot of students, cafeterias, entrances in the morning.”

He received training before the start of school, and he was slated for more training in the coming days.

Parents are torn over the decision.

“Its very stressful to be with high school students, or just people in general at times, you know? The rules are the rules, unfortunately,” one Riverview High School mother said. “So he had to be let go, because you can’t be weak on something like that.”

“Probation might have been ok, but you know really, today you can’t do that legally so that’s what happens with the schools you have to be tight on that,” said one Riverview High School dad.

The case is being investigated by the Sarasota County Schools Police Department. Officials will determine whether Howard or the student will face charges.

“Whoever is at fault certainly has to make sure they’re held accountable, so we’ll see,” said Dumas.

School officials are still investigating the incident and have not said what the argument was about.

8 On Your Side went to Howard’s house Monday, but he did not wish to comment.

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