BROWARD SCHOOLS

Blanche Ely High School teacher punished after alleged sex talk

mrvasquez@MiamiHerald.com May 14, 2013 

A Broward reading teacher has been suspended for 13 days without pay after her overly permissive classroom environment led to rampant student misbehavior and students feeling emboldened enough to ask the teacher about her past sexual encounters.

Rather than scold students for such inappropriate questions, teacher Laurie Nenortas told her 10th-grade Blanche Ely High School students about when she lost her virginity, school district administrators say.

Nenortas “told the students that she first had had sex in college, and it had been physically painful,” wrote Tallahassee administrative law Judge Robert Meale, who weighed in on the teacher’s discipline after Nenortas appealed the district’s decision to punish her. Ultimately, the judge sided with the district, finding that Nenortas’ “misconduct in office and incompetence” clearly deserved consequences.

Broward School Board members, in a unanimous vote on Tuesday, finalized that 13-day suspension, despite the objections of Nenortas’ union-hired attorney. Nenortas, who has worked for the district for 26 years, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

In addition to the teacher’s sex-related talk with students, other reasons for the punishment included:

•  Nenortas repeatedly allowing students to act out — flipping over desks and chairs, blurting out profanity, or listening to music on their headphones while in class. In one incident, a male student struck a female student in the head with a bottle, and Nenortas did little to address it, the district says.

•  Nenortas improperly reduced student grades for unjustified reasons. In one case, two students with identical answers received very different grades on their homework — one received 100 percent, and the other 50 percent. According to court documents, Nenortas said she punished the one student because she suspected cheating, but the teacher offered no proof and admitted she never spoke to either student about her cheating suspicions.

The discipline against Nenortas stems from events that occurred during the 2011-12 school year. She has since been reassigned to the district’s Dave Thomas Education Center in Coconut Creek, an alternative school serving at-risk students.

School Board member Rosalind Osgood complained the transfer moved Nenortas “to a school with kids who have even more challenges.”

“How long are we going to continue to pay people to fail kids?” she asked.

Superintendent Robert Runcie responded that the district would review the details of Nenortas’ case, as well as Broward’s overall teacher placement process.

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