Manatee school district concludes no wrongdoing in handling of bullying complaint

twhitt@bradenton.comJune 11, 2013 

MANATEE -- An investigation into the school district handling of a conference with a district employee who reported alleged bullying of a student to police, rather than to district officials, found no wrongdoing on the district's part.

The investigation involved a school district conference with Stephen Gulash, a parent liaison and a witness in an investigation involving allegations against Rod Frazier another parent liaison and fellow football coach.

Gulash claimed he was called into a conference with the director of secondary schools, rather than his principal, in retribution for testimony in the investigation. Gulash described the meeting as a reprimand.

The investigation refers to notes on the April 25 meeting as a "Memorandum of Conference" and examines whether it qualifies as a form of discipline. Such a memo is placed in an employee's personnel file.

But the investigator and the school district's attorney found that a conference memorandum is not a formal reprimand.

Jim Pauley, director of secondary schools who supervises principals at all secondary schools, called Gulash into the meeting after the district heard from the parent of a student who is part of the Frazier investigation. The parent told district officials she was unhappy with the outcome of several issues at the school level.

Gulash told police the woman's daughter was being bullied on Facebook but Palmetto police said there was nothing criminal about the case. Gulash did not report the alleged bullying to the school district before he reported it to the police.

"Mr. Gulash takes issue with the conclusion that he did not adequately ensure student safety," the investigation found. "In his view he 'went out of his way' to take the matter to law enforcement immediately. However it is clear for the Memorandum that the area of concern was his failure to bring the matter to Principal's Sauer's attention in a timely manner."

The district concludes: "There is no evidence, other than Mr. Gulash's subjective belief, that the Memorandum of Conference was issued as retribution for Mr. Gulash's involvement in the Frazier matter."

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service