As a parent and taxpayer in Manatee County, I have watched the ongoing, epic battle between the school board, ex-district employees, attorneys and the courts with disbelief and dismay. Much of it has been extremely embarrassing and a waste of time and resources.
However, there is one piece that I firmly believe needs to be remedied as soon as possible.
We were fortunate to have Bob Gagnon as principal at Manatee High School when my oldest child started there. Bob was an excellent principal and made MHS a model school.
What happened to Bob is unconscionable. He was persecuted by an administration that was clearly targeting him. After a long and dubious internal investigation, he was subjected to a rigorous independent investigation by an administrative judge, who cleared him of all allegations and ordered him reinstated.
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This still has not occurred.
He was then subjected to a criminal trial and was granted a summary acquittal without even presenting a defense. For this, he lost his job and pay promised by the school board and had his reputation ruined forever. Not to mention extreme financial hardship.
In the current situation, he has found it difficult to find a job in his chosen field of 26 years and one in which he has always excelled. I call for the school board to correct this gross injustice.
The solution is to offer him an administrative or similar position and settle the other claims with a reasonable financial arrangement. Please do the right thing and give a lifelong, highly qualified and effective educator his life back and bring a huge asset back to our district. We don't need to continue to ruin his life through the court system for another two to three years.
Please help solve this untenable and embarrassing situation as soon as possible.