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Southeast High principal should have used ‘better judgment’ after husband was fired, district says

The investigation into Southeast High School following the termination of former Boys and Girls Club director Wendell Faison, revealed that her husband, and principal, Rosa Faison, should have known better, but did not violate any district policies.
The investigation into Southeast High School following the termination of former Boys and Girls Club director Wendell Faison, revealed that her husband, and principal, Rosa Faison, should have known better, but did not violate any district policies. Bradenton Herald

Southeast High School Principal Rosa Faison “should have used better judgment” than to allow her husband on campus after he was fired from an after-school program, but she did not violate Manatee County School District policies, according to the district’s investigation released Friday.

Concerns arose within the school about a potential conflict of interest earlier this year when she mandated that all student athletes, regardless of grades, attend a Boys & Girls Club after-school program run by her husband, Wendell Faison.

Wendell Faison was terminated for making sexually inappropriate comments to a female student in April. Although Rosa Faison was aware her husband was back on campus after his termination — at the invitation of football head coach Brett Timmons — to help with the high school football team, her lack of action did not violate policy, according to the investigation.

In both cases, Rosa Faison was essentially told she should have known better.

An investigation by Manatee County government, which funded the after-school program, found that students were signing into the program to be counted and then leaving at will. Those students were counted in the club’s financial reports as receiving services, which determined about much the county paid to Boys & Girls Club for the program.

The county has since recommended that the Boys & Girls Club not receive reimbursement for the last school year. Officials provided the club with a multitude of contract violations that had to be remedied before receiving further funding.

The school district’s investigation, conducted by Troy Nelson, of the office of professional standards, concluded there was not enough evidence that Faison intentionally inflated numbers and she was motivated to ensure student-athletes’ grades would improve. The report indicates that Faison was unaware that some of those students were merely checking into the program and leaving.

“There is no evidence to support that Ms. Faison was trying to inflate numbers just for the sake of funding,” Nelson writes. “She was trying to utilize an existing program to get the academic support she saw necessary for her student athletes. However, the Boys and Girls Club is a voluntary program and in the future should not be used for mandated school purposes.”

Coach invited Wendell Faison

Knowing of the allegations against Wendell Faison, and that he was terminated from the after-school program and being banned from campus, Timmons invited Wendell Faison to help out with the football team. Timmons was hired to head the football program after last season and is entering his first season at the helm.

Rosa Faison said she was unaware that Timmons had made the invitation, which Timmons confirmed. Both stated the only conversation about Wendell Faison was Timmons asking how he was doing after the allegations surfaced and that Rosa Faison said her husband was depressed and not getting out of the house much.

Timmons said he reached out to Wendell Faison after the conversation and confirmed he never told Rosa Faison nor was he ever asked. However, Rosa Faison admitted to knowing her husband was on campus and helping with the team. Wendell Faison was again escorted from campus and barred from all of Manatee County school properties after a report by the Bradenton Herald.

Nelson writes in his report that Rosa Faison learned of her husband’s presence on campus and “allowed it to continue.”

Timmons said Faison was under his supervision at all times, but witnesses inside the school placed Wendell Faison near his wife’s office during school hours.

“Mr. Faison should not have been permitted onto the campus while students were present,” Nelson wrote. “Ms. Faison did not initiate Mr. Faison from coming on the campus as a volunteer, however, she should have stopped this once she was made aware.”

The investigator’s report will be forwarded to the executive director of secondary education for further evaluation but in the meantime, Nelson concluded, “No district policies were violated as a result of this situation, however, Ms. Faison should have used better judgment under the given circumstance.”

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