Thursday, January 04, 2007

Teacher Gets Caught Accepting Bribes From Fifthgraders

It's three years probation for a Pensacola, Fla., middle school teacher accused of allowing students to miss gym class in exchange for money.

Authorities said the former Ernest Ward Middle School teacher gave students who didn't participate or dress for her gym class a 100 percent participation grade in exchange for $1 during the 2004-2005 school year.Tamara Tootle will also voluntarily surrender her Florida Education Certification permanently and perform 300 hours of community service.

Tootle pleaded no contest to six felony counts of third-degree bribery.Although she will not teach during her probation, Tootle's teaching career outside of Florida hasn't completely been ruled out, said Assistant State Attorney John Simon, who prosecuted the case."

That's an issue we still have to figure out," Simon told the Pensacola News Journal. "For now, she is not to teach in any public or private school." Another gym teacher at the school, Terence Braxton, pleaded guilty in May to six counts of felony bribery. He was sentenced to three years of probation and also had his state teaching certificate revoked.

Escambia School District spokesman Ronnie Arnold told the paper that Tootle and Braxton paid "a heavy price for a poor decision.""It's sad," he said. "But something like this is just common sense. When we got into education, we all knew we'd have to live to a higher standard."

Teaching Middle School Physical Education

Time may not cure all wounds, but helps hangovers


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