Manatee school board leveling punishments amid scandal - FOX 13 News

Manatee school board leveling punishments amid scandal

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A handful of resignations, criminal investigations, and severed pay: it's all the makings of a Manatee County School District scandal centered on accusations of former Manatee High School Assistant Football Coach Rod Frazier's inappropriate conduct with female students and staff members.

An investigation into the scandal is now creating a snowball effect for some former administrators that worked alongside Frazier.

The heat is on for some of Manatee County's highest administrators. Attorneys for Manatee High School's former senior staff members spent Monday evening arguing why their clients should keep their jobs.

Former Manatee High School Principal Robert Gagnon, and former Assistant Principals Greg Faller and Matthew Kane are all in the hot seat after a district investigation found they didn't thoroughly look into claims that Frazier inappropriately groped and texted students and staffers.

Superintendent Rick Mills wants all three terminated. But he started the process Monday night with requesting the School Board end their pay during suspension.

"He's got a family to support. I learned today his wife has obtained a second job working at K-Mart, they're trying to keep their house and bills paid," Faller's attorney Jon Weiffenbach said at the board meeting.

But such pleas didn't resonate with any of the five board members. Gagnon, Faller, and Kane had their pay severed by the meeting's end.

Their attorneys maintain their innocence, saying their clients' careers are being dragged through the mud of a one-man scandal.

"If you look at that investigation, please tell me how there's any evidence that supports that idea that Rob Gagnon had a duty to report child abuse and didn't act on that," Gagnon's attorney, Richard Reinhart, said following Monday's meeting.

Two additional administrators were also initially facing action from the Manatee County School Board. Deborah Horne and Scott Martin faced similar accusations following the district's investigation. The two have since resigned from their positions with the school district.

Gagnon, Faller, and Kane can appeal the School Board's decision to cut their pay, but the Board could vote on their terminations as early as the end of the month.

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