Assistant principal fights to get his job back - FOX 13 News

Assistant principal fights to get his job back

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Former Rodgers assistant principal Shawn Livingston said he did the best job he could.

"I hit the ground running. I've done any and everything. I reached out, I asked for help, and I didn't receive it or didn't in a timely manner," he said Tuesday afternoon.

Even before Jenny Caballero slipped out of her gym class, climbed over a fence and drowned in a retention pond, Livingston said he asked the district for a safety walk around the school to help identify dangers.

Livingston was part of a new team at Rodgers and said he never got a response.

"We were at the infancy of getting that school where it needed to be. We were well on our way when this happened and we didn't have the opportunity to fix it," cried former principal Sharon Tumicki.

Tumicki hired Livingston, a choice she said she now regrets for his sake.

"Every day, I wish I wouldn't have hired him so he wouldn't have had to go through this," she said.

Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia fired Livingston after he refused to accept a demotion to teacher. Livingston said he only refused because he did not want to accept charges of incompetence and willful neglect that came with it.

"Do you believe you discharged your responsibility as an assistant principal at Rogers to keep Jenny safe and to keep all the other kids safe?" asked his attorney Robert McKee.

"I've done everything I could to make sure everyone was safe on campus," Livingston responded.

Jenny's P.E. coach disagrees. He said he complained to Livingston about the aides assigned to special needs students.

"They liked to sit a lot and I didn't feel they paid attention enough to the kids," said former coach Gary Gawrych.

Livingston said he never heard those complaints.

"As far as me doing what I needed to do, I did. I tried to head things off, I asked for support in many instances," he said.

The School Board will make their final decision in 90 days.

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